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Seasonal Allergies – What Works?

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — A gentle breeze, the smell of fresh flowers, birds chirping… all signs spring is here.

Yet there’s another sign of spring that isn’t as pleasant.

The first sneeze of the season, itchy eyes and the sound of people blowing their noses, which makes life miserable for allergy sufferers like Robert Jones.

“Just one day I started wheezing and never stopped,” said Jones. “I found out I was allergic to everything outside. Grass, pollen, cedar, everything — you name it.”

Jones moved to the metroplex from Louisiana 15 years ago and has suffered from allergies ever since.

“The final straw was when the wife was like ‘you may wanna sleep on the couch tonight,’” said Jones.

Like so many North Texans, he tried to cure himself.

“I tried everything from local honey to honey from all over the world. Everything I could of from home remedies to searching online,” said Jones.

But what really works?

The CBS 11 Investigators turned to Baylor Medical Center to separate fact from fiction.

First up, eating honey.

“There’s no proven study that honey works,” said Dr. Renuku Basavaraju, allergist with Baylor Medical Center. “The kind of pollen honey bees carry are not really what we’re looking for.”

And what about the neti pot?

It grosses people out, but allergy sufferers claim it’s an allergy miracle.

“Of all the things that are over the counter, anything that can do the job is the neti pot. It truly flushes out the pollen or whatever,” said Dr. Basavaraju.

Many people also try acupuncture.

If you can handle the needles, a study hints that it might relieve sneezing and itchy eyes. But the benefits wore off once the treatments stopped.

“If someone has serious allergies, I would rather put them through immuno-therapy than acupuncture,” said Dr. Basavaraju.

Eating right is important, but eating a salad a day won’t keep the allergies away.

“Eating well is essential because of anti-oxidants. But that itself will correct the immune system and stop allergies: no data,” said Dr. Basavaraju.

There’s folklore that visiting salt mines will help your allergies. Dr. Basavaraju said unless you have a few hundred dollars to spare it’s a myth and will have little benefit.

One of the more far-fetched remedies is eating quail eggs.

Dr. Basavaraju said there isn’t any science to back up allergy curing claims.

And think twice before downing a hookworm to alleviate allergies.

There have been some studies considering whether being infected with a parasitic worm can help allergies, but Dr. Basavaraju said the results remain inconclusive.

If you have severe allergies, Dr. Basavaraju said none of these home remedies will have any real impact.

Instead she suggests allergy shots, which is what Robert Jones does.

“My life is so much better now,” said Jones.

And most importantly,“I’m back in the bed now.”

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