Are We Sneezing Yet?

How a neti pot can help you combat seasonal allergies

A few years ago, all those lovely blossoms that cover tree branches around this time of year started to look, well, deadly.

Until then, spring blooms had been an annual annoyance that made me sneeze my way through a dozen boxes of tissues. But after my hay fever morphed into a couple fairly serious asthma attacks, those sweet little flowers became a downright menace.

My doctor and I figured out that my allergies peak right around tax day, April 15. So, after making the requisite jokes about being allergic to Uncle Sam, my doctor prescribed some heavy duty, preventative drugs and told me to start taking them by mid-March. It turns out these meds take a few weeks to become effective.

This year, however, I had to start taking those drugs in late February. The pollen counts — which normally start soaring in early April — were already beginning to skyrocket. Spring started springing much earlier than normal. And, as I'm sure many of you red-eyed, congested folks know — allergy season is already in full swing in several parts of the country.

It seems that our erratic winter and warmer climate have made it difficult for health experts to predict when allergy season will hit. And timing the season often helps serious sufferers take the preventative steps we need to live to fight another day.

According to an article at CNN, many regions around the country — from New York to Texas — are already experiencing soaring pollen counts. Here's a national map with pollen and allergen counts.

This isn't great news for the some 25 million Americans estimated to suffer from hay fever. In fact, the number of allergy sufferers is growing. Unpredictable weather makes it more challenging for everyone to manage their allergies, especially when the season sneaks up on us like this.

Meanwhile, my trials and tribulations in the allergy wars have led me to discover the Neti Pot, an Ayurvedic, drug-free way to fight pollen and allergens.

Unfortunately, I still need to take hardcore drugs to control my allergies during the spring. But I breathe a lot easier, thanks to the Neti Pot — which I started using the instant that the first deadly blossom opened itself up.

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