Save money with do-it-yourself allergy relief

Consumer Reports News: April 24, 2009 05:15 PM

The first warm, sunny days of spring are a welcome change after the long winter months. But if you’re like me, the warm weather brings hay fever and sinus congestion. I’ve tried dozens of over-the-counter and prescription drugs and have seen first hand that getting sinus relief is expensive, but there are some inexpensive remedies to try before hitting the pharmacy counter.

Nasal saline irrigation—a saltwater rinse for the nasal passages—is a safe, cheap, and effective way to ease chronic nose and sinus inflammation. Irrigation kits cost about $15 to $40, and you can pick up one from your local drugstore. One pushes saline into the nostrils with pressure from a squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or water pic. The other—sometimes called a Neti Pot—uses gravity to deliver the saline. Try it in the morning and at night, and clean the device daily.

The effects of nasal irrigation may not last as long as over-the-counter and prescription drugs like antihistamines or corticosteroid nasal spray medications. But recent studies show people who used nasal irrigation for hay-fever symptoms experienced some relief and required lower doses of allergy medication. That a good enough reason for me to give it a try this weekend.

We’d like to hear from you: Is there an allergy home remedy that works for you?

Ginger Skinner

Read more on herbal allergy remedies to watch out for, and stay tuned for our two upcoming reports on surviving hay fever.

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