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5 surprising ways to deal with spring allergies

Have you started sneezing yet? Pollen counts have been rising in Massachusetts, leaving many wheezing, sneezing, and dealing with itchy eyes. Try the following:

1. Using allergy drops under the tongue. These could replace allergy shots to desensitize people to grass or tree allergies. Widely used in Europe, the drops aren't available here since they're not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

2. Allergy-fighting foods. Research suggests that foods rich in antioxidants or anti-inflammatory nutrients can lower your chances of getting allergies. These include green tea and red foods such as apples, red onions, grapes, and raspberries.

3. Exercise. Physical activity could relieve some allergy symptoms by helping maintain the immune system. But don't exercise outdoors, especially when pollen counts are high.


4. Acupuncture. The technique may help alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies at least somewhat, according to a February study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Twelve treatments over eight weeks provided modest relief.

5. Dripless nasal sprays. Prescription steroid nasal sprays have gotten easier to use with versions that deliver a less drippy mist instead of a liquid, according to Dr. Karen Blatman, an allergist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Several are now available as generics, including triamcinolone (Nasacort) and fluticasone propionate (Flonase).