My seasonal allergies (aka Hay Fever) are flaring up and I'm caught without my medicine. What can I do for short-term relief?

  • By seasonal allergies I suppose you mean hay fever, right? As a non native English speaker that's the only translation I find for the term in my native language.
    – Alex
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:51
  • 1
    @Alex Yes, the two terms are interchangeable. I'll add that to my question.
    – Mooseman
    Apr 28, 2015 at 12:06

7 Answers 7


The best right now fix I've had is to wash your face and keep rinsing with clean water for a few minutes. This helps with the itchy eyes and removes irritants from your skin. Any other area of the body you can wash also helps. Best if you can actually take a shower and change into clean clothes, but the face wash is best for situations where that isn't possible.

  • Also, remember to dry your face thoroughly and avoid excessive use of moisturising creams, as it may lead to more pollen to stick to your skin.
    – whirlwin
    Apr 29, 2015 at 9:37

I have a friend who wears a SCUBA mask with a HEPA filter on it when the birch trees are active. He looks like Darth Vader, but he experiences no allergies.


Local honey. Go to a farmers market/local farm/natural store in your area. Try to find honey (preferably honey in the raw) that is farmed within 100 miles of you. The closer the better. The pollen in the honey will contain the things your allergic to (sounds counter productive) in a level that your body can handle, and will help you get over your allergies. It may not completely get rid of them, but it will help. Also helps with sore throat/cough.

  • Garlic is a natural Hay-Fever remedy
  • I find swimming in the ocean helps clear the sinus.
  • If I'm really deperate, I eat raw chillis. It causes the sinus to open. That may be slightly drastic though.

If you have a car with air conditioning and air re-circulating, switching these both on should filter pollen out of the air. Sorry it's not much use whilst not in a car, but it may offer some relief.


You may find it beneficial to try a Neti Pot.

People often use Neti Pots to flush the pollen out of some of their sinus cavities.

If you choose to try a Neti Pot, make sure you use an appropriate solution mixture (typically containing pure sodium chloride and pure aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate) and distilled water. Never use tap water, well water, or regular bottled water, as you don't want to introduce contaminants/bacteria into your sinus cavities.

Some people have experimented with using Himalayan salt in a Neti Pot, but it is unknown whether or not that is a safe practice.

  • The warning about the water quality is important. Among other problems that are probably more likely, in the worst case you might get Naegleria fowleri if you are not careful about the water you are using.
    – user4830
    Sep 15, 2016 at 7:02
  • Don't worry too much about what you are putting into the solution. You can buy satchets specifically for this purpose, with an electrolyte mixture much like Ringer's solution. But that's really overkill because this is just about washing some cavities, and the electrolytes will almost immediately leave your body anyway. I normally just use some ordinary plain cooking salt (not even measuring it precisely) to prevent the mucous membranes from swelling.
    – user4830
    Sep 15, 2016 at 7:12

Take a placebo, and try to control any significant psychological factors. Psychology is an important factor in allergies because they are basically overreactions of a bored immune system. Basic things such as work-related stress, being in love etc. can have a significant impact. So if you were surprised by unusually strong hay fever, you might consider manipulating your psychological state:

  • Do you have work-related stress? Tell yourself that since you are ill, there is no longer any pressure as you will just do whatever you can under the circumstances.
  • Are you working but not experiencing significant stress levels? Put yourself under artificial pressure.
  • If you are easily excitable that way, try a horror movie.
  • Maybe even fall into or out of love.
  • If you have access to a completely harmless placebo, consider taking it. The placebo effect can work even if you know you are tricking your body.

Of course manipulating your psychological state could also make things worse if you don't have a good idea of what it will do to your allergy.

Also, this would be the best time for getting some kind of proper infection so that your immune system has real work to do. I am just not sure how that would translate into something you can actually do...

  • 1
    How would that work? If you know it is a placebo, then it isn't a placebo!
    – Chenmunka
    Sep 15, 2016 at 8:53
  • That's a misconception about what a placebo is and what it can do. Medical therapies are more effective when patients know they are being treated. And knowingly undergoing a placebo treatment (i.e. knowing it's just a placebo) is more effective than no treatment at all. And it also works for animals. This is all relatively well researched because understanding the placebo effect is critical for evaluating the effectiveness of 'proper' treatments.
    – user4830
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:48

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