For many years, I suffered from nasal congestion. When I developed seasonal allergies at about the age of 30, I could hardly breathe, and my eyes would water and almost swell shut. The approach I took for decades was to use over the counter medications, usually antihistamines. These medications offered brief relief, usually made me extremely drowsy and dehydrated my system.
I did try one prescription antihistamine, but found it didn’t work as well as the over the counter medications, plus it has serious side effect I would rather avoid. I would use some environmental strategies to avoid the congestion. I stopped hanging laundry outside to limit the pollen that got on my clothing. Smoky areas were also avoided. Frequent showers during the times of the year when the pollen count was high helped some, as did staying inside with the air conditioning on. These solutions, although somewhat effective, were not entirely satisfactory, as I began to withdraw for activities and place where I would encounter the pollen. Gardening, a passion of mine, became almost a dangerous activity. I dreaded when my children would have outdoor sporting events, especially in the late summer and fall.
Finally, I noticed if I swam, I got some long lasting relief from the symptoms. I did some research, and discovered that the mechanism for this relief was probably cleansing of the nasal passages with the treated pool water. One claim I kept reading about was that saline rinsing of the sinuses was recommended to control and prevent the effects of allergies. There was a variety of ways to accomplish this cleansing I chose to try a saline cleansing system with a squeeze bottle using treated water to rinse. What a difference! I now use the saline rinse at least daily, usually during my morning shower. It is a strange sensation, and one that I would not have thought to seek but for the juxtaposition of the swimming pool relief and the research. Although I still need an occasional antihistamine during the height of the ragweed season, the rinsing has simply acted to remove the offending pollen for my nose, which is where it lurked in the past, tricking my body into the allergic reactions. I highly recommend a neti pot or a bottle saline rinse system for everyone—it is just one more way to keep a vital area clean and limit or eradicate allergy symptoms without ingesting chemicals.