For the last several years I’ve had extreme allergies (cats and dust, mostly). They’ve been so bad that we had to get rid of our cats, which we enjoyed very much. I’ve also been on Claritin for most of that time–with daily to every-other-day tablets being the only thing that can keep me from being a sneezing, itchy-eyed mess. And they only barely work.
Even more serious are the consequences of the allergies. They keep me perpetually congested to the point that every few months I have to do a cycle of antibiotics to fight off severe sinus infections. This is combined with constant congestion. I am never not clearing my throat or trying to pop my ears, or trying to expel some form of nastiness from my nose and throat. It’s endless.
But that’s all gone now.
I am not only off of Claritin completely, but my ears, nose, and throat are now mostly clear–and I didn’t have to take an antibiotic to clear out the mess. Instead, I merely started using a sinus rinse once a day. That’s right–I solved the whole thing by washing out my sinuses with a simple saltwater solution.
This is a very recent discovery for me, so please take notice as to how I came upon it. The details are important. I have been in possession of a sinus rinse for almost a year now, and I used it occasionally–maybe once a week, or maybe every two weeks. It was always very helpful when I did use it, but I didn’t think much of it.
So one week while traveling out of state for business I decided to use it for an entire week while in the hotel in order to see if it could clear me out (I was fully at the point where I was about to need antibiotics again, with the heavy congestion and green-colored mucous).
To my pleasant surprise, by the end of the week I was nearly cleared out and my ears were actually fully opening by themselves at times. But the fact that it cleared me out was not the phenomenal part, it was the fact that I was out of Claritin and I wasn’t having any allergy issues.
None. It was as if I did not have allergies at all.
Naturally, I figured this was some sort of fluke, and that once I returned home they would go apeshit again. But no. I kept doing the rinses every morning and, stunningly, I was now able to stay around dust and cats for hours at a time without having a reaction.
So I’m not sure what the mechanics are of this, but I have a few thoughts. First off, I’m a bit peeved that my allergy doctor didn’t tell me in stronger terms to do this. He told me about it by basically saying, “Try a nasal rinse; it might help some.”
Help some? Damn you, sir. This simple, two-minute morning action can keep me from needing medicine, and has improved my life greatly. This should have been the first thing you told me, and you should have presented all other alternatives as…alternatives. Instead, he pushed medication first and mentioned the rinse as an aside. I shake my fist at you.
Anyway, the good news is that you’re reading this now, so ‘insert cliché for being future rather than past-focused’.
My other thought was just a simple theory for what’s actually happening to allow for this. My only model at this point (since the M.D. couldn’t offer any input) is that it is build-up that is the problem with allergies. Basically, we have our sinus cavities sitting full of the allergens, which keeps us very slightly aggravated at all times. But when we’re exposed to something new–or anything disturbs the resting store of it–it activates the whole lot of it and our faces explode.
So, using this model, the reason the sinus rinse works is because it both flushes out the existing mucous and such that was brought in to fight the stuff, and also keeps that massive store of allergens from building up in the first place.
That’s my current understanding of it.
So here’s what you do. Go get a sinus rinse. I recommend the NeilMed brand, only because that’s what’s worked for me.
Use it once a day, in the morning. But to get you started, use it at night as well. Do this for like two weeks. As a note, by the way, I often actually lightly blow out as I’m pushing the rinse through–to help expel anything that’s built up in there. They advise against it, if you don’t get crazy with it I don’t see how it could hurt you (keep in mind I’m not a doctor).
Once you’re good, just keep doing it. I am doing it once a day, in the morning, but you may want to stick with twice a day if that works better for you. I am quite sure this is a highly variable thing from person to person, depending on how bad your allergies are, your history with ENT issues, how much exposure you get to your allergens, etc.
So I hope this helps someone. Good luck to you. ::