Common, not so common allergy remedies


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 20 – Finding Quick Relief: Sore throat sprays offer relief for scratchy and sore throats. These sprays are just one of many remedies for allergies. Photo: Jacob Clore

by Jacob Clore–

In the midst of the spring allergy season, allergy sufferers look to many different remedies to alleviate their allergies. In addition to the over-the-counter and pharmaceutical methods of treating allergies, patients also seek remedies that they can use at home.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “the most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are: tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, and cat, dog and rodent dander.” Many residents of the New River Valley go to their physician looking for help and tips on how to combat these common causes of allergies. Some might even go to Schiffert Health Center (Schiffert) on Virginia Tech’s campus, thinking that their allergies are a much more serious illness.

“We’re getting into allergy season now,” Cindi Douglas, a nurse practioner at Schiffert said. “And we’ll probably see that 10 percent of our population will be allergy related.”

Douglas prescribes histamine blockers; like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec, to treat patient’s allergies. However, allergy sufferers are also using other sorts of home remedies to treat their allergies. Suzi Windland, a junior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., stopped using Claritin after she started using locally grown honey.

“I’ve noticed with the honey I don’t even get the symptoms unless there’s a really weird spike or new pollen emerges,” Windland said.

For allergy sufferers with nasal congestion, a tool known as a Neti pot can bring relief. According to, a Neti pot delivers lukewarm salt water into the nose, washing away pollens, mucus, bacteria and viruses. While Douglas offers support for the use of local honey and a Neti pott, she suggests that patients still use their histamine blockers. She offers allergy sufferers a few words of advice against the worst allergy symptoms.

“Drink a lot of water and keep your windows closed at night,” Douglas said. “Pollen is highest from evening to early morning, so don’t sleep with your windows open. Try to understand what your allergies are.”



BLACKSBURG, Va., March 17 – Ready to Help Patients: Nurse practitioner Cindi Douglas works with many allergy sufferers in Virginia Tech’s Schiffert Health Center. Photo: Jacob Clore

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HARRISONBURG, Va., Jan. 6 – Suzi Windland: Windland uses local honey to get rid of her allergy symptoms. Photo: Suzi Windland