By Danielle Schretzman– 

Spring is finally upon us, and everyone knows that with spring comes the silent killer-of-moods: allergies. According to Web MD, 55 percent of Americans test positive to one or more allergens. That means roughly 12,500 students on our campus will be suffering this season.

As if doctors visits aren’t time consuming or expensive enough, generally only over the counter medicines will be prescribed to patients, making the trip a waste of time, money and energy. However, there are some cheap and easy ways to combat these allergies. And you can try them in the comfort of your home or dorm.

First, one of the most interesting remedies out there is something called a neti pot. This little device will run you around $10 at a drug store, which is super cheap compared to most sinus clearing medications. Also, this is a form of instant relief that doesn’t require you to go through 100 tissues per hour. According to MayoClinic, to use the neti pot, “tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.” It may seem unconventional to rinse your nose with saltwater, or to put anything through your nose honestly, but this method provides proven results. Plus, it makes for an interesting story.

If this isn’t your cup of tea, or should I say “pot” of tea, then there are foods you can consume that are proven allergen relievers.

Eating a spoon full of local honey is an age-old remedy that you may have heard from your grandparents. Why local honey specifically? The theory is that since local honey is made from the same plants that surround you, the honey will introduce your body to allergens it will encounter when the season is in full swing.

Another rather painless remedy to try is probiotic supplements. Probiotics are actually live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your immune system and digestive tract. There are different ways to consume probiotics, but the easiest is with supplements that you can find at the drug store or grocery store for around $7 – $10.

There are some foods that also contain high levels of probiotics such as yogurt, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, kefir. Kefir is made from fermented milk either from cows, goats or sheep. This originated in the mountains of Russia but a lot of grocery stores carry kefir and kefir grains.

Obviously, goat or sheep’s milk may not be for everyone. Simpler, homemade remedies include drinking apple cider vinegar, eating cold fish such as salmon or tuna – because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids – and even enjoying a glass of red wine.

It is important to use all of these remedies in moderation, as it is with any other medication, so to not disrupt the body’s natural processes.