Allergic rhinitis, or a nasal allergy, is often triggered by environmental irritants like pollen or animal dander. The immune system of a person with the condition will treat these irritants as dangerous invaders and release the chemical histamine as a protective measure.
Histamine causes the itching, sneezing, and swelling linked to allergies. There are over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that can relieve and prevent the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but they can cause drowsiness.
Clean your house thoroughly – If you have a dust mite allergy, minimize exposure and take measures to eliminate them from your home. Wet mop hard floors instead of sweeping. If you have carpet, use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Always dust hard surfaces. Wash your sheets and blankets in hot water that’s above 130 F (around 54 C) every week. Use allergen-blocking pillows and cases to decrease dust mite exposure while you sleep.
Control your exposure to pet dander – Try to limit your limit exposure to any animal that you’re allergic to. If this isn’t possible, clean all surfaces regularly. Always wash your hands after touching pets, and keep your pets off your bed. Change out of your clothes and wash them immediately after visiting the homes of pet owners.
Herbal remedies – According to Dr. Linda White, author of "The Herbal Drugstore," licorice root, which has anti-inflammatory properties, can also help treat allergies. White also suggests reishi, a Chinese mushroom that hinders histamine production. Use about 20 to 30 drops of licorice root tincture or at least three 1,000-milligram (mg) capsules of reishi extract thrice a day. However, if you have allergies consult a healthcare professional before you take herbal remedies. Some of them may cause an allergic reaction. For example, if you have a ragweed allergy, chamomile may trigger a reaction. Other herbs, like ephedra, are considered controlled substances and may be illegal in some areas.
Nasal irrigation/lavage – Nasal irrigation or lavage washes irritants out of the nasal passages and relieves allergy symptoms. You can use a plastic bulb or a neti pot (a miniature teapot) for nasal irrigation. A nasal lavage requires the use of a mild saline solution. You can make your own saline solution by combining one-quarter teaspoon of salt in warm water, or you can buy a pre-made solution at the drugstore. Nasal irrigation can flush irritants from the sinuses, moisten the tissues, and soothe irritation. Practicing nasal irrigation regularly can help prevent the recurrence of nasal allergies and other sinus problems.