I survive spring allergies by rinsing out my sinuses.
I had those late-20's early 30's sudden-onset-allergies. I never suffered in Southern California, but moving to the middle of a National Park in Northern California has done me in. I used to wallow in pain and misery for days, waiting for my body to get the allergies under control, now I rely on the ancient art of "nasal lavage" or rinsing our my nasal cavity with warm and slightly saline water. The warm and salty water clears the offending allergens out, and seems to help sooth inflammation.
Basically I take the plastic bulb/bottle in this NeilMd kit I linked, put in a packet of saline and then fill'er up with slightly cooled water from my kettle. I am constantly boiling water to make tea, so there is always some clean water on hand. I then stand over my kitchen sink and pump water through my head, switching sides about 1/4 way thru the bottle, until the bottle is empty. Then I blow my nose!
Rinsing my head out makes it feel lots better. I had a splitting, migraine-esque sinus headache 30 minutes ago. I hosed out my noggin and immediately felt better!
Exercise care and follow the directions with these 'neti-pots' — the FDA has issued some warnings/directions. In the 10 years I've lived in this allergen nightmare of a paradise, I have followed these guidelines and had no problems!
Via the FDA:
What does safe use mean? First, rinse only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water.
Tap water isn't safe for use as a nasal rinse because it's not adequately filtered or treated. Some tap water contains low levels of organisms — such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas — that may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But in your nose, these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections. They can even be fatal in some rare cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What Types of Water Are Safe to Use?
Distilled or sterile water, which you can buy in stores. The label will state "distilled" or "sterile."
Boiled and cooled tap water — boiled for 3 to 5 minutes, then cooled until it is lukewarm. Previously boiled water can be stored in a clean, closed container for use within 24 hours.
Water passed through a filter designed to trap potentially infectious organisms. CDC has information on selecting these filters.
Safely Use Nasal Irrigation Systems
Second, make sure you follow instructions.
"There are various ways to deliver saline to the nose. Nasal spray bottles deliver a fine mist and might be useful for moisturizing dry nasal passages. But irrigation devices are better at flushing the nose and clearing out mucus, allergens and bacteria," Mann says.
Information included with the irrigation device might give more specific instructions about its use and care. These devices all work in basically the same way:
Leaning over a sink, tilt your head sideways with your forehead and chin roughly level to avoid liquid flowing into your mouth.
Breathing through your open mouth, insert the spout of the saline-filled container into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
Clear your nostrils. Then repeat the procedure, tilting your head sideways, on the other side.
Sinus rinsing can remove dust, pollen and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus. It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of sinus infections, allergies, colds and flu. Plain water can irritate your nose. The saline allows the water to pass through delicate nasal membranes with little or no burning or irritation.
And if your immune system isn't working properly, consult your health care provider before using any nasal irrigation systems.
This stuff really helps me. Also: diphenhydramine.
Sinus Rinse Complete Kit via Amazon