CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. For some, this time of year brings itchy eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose.  

So, what’s the best way to relieve these symptoms?  

According to Cleveland Clinic allergist Sandra Hong, MD, nasal steroids can be extremely effective. 

“Making sure that they point them outwards — right nostril, right ear; left nostril, left ear. Because we want to avoid nasal septum that runs down the center. Because if you point into it, you can get nose bleeds,” she advised.

Tree pollen affects a majority of allergy sufferers during spring, in addition to mold, pet dander, and dust mites. 

Dr. Hong says a good one-two, over-the-counter punch can provide relief. She recommends starting a nasal steroid to combat nasal congestion.

Then, to fight itching, sneezing and postnasal drip, she suggests antihistamines.  

Antihistamines start working in about an hour and should be taken when symptoms first appear.  More severe allergies may cause asthma and require inhalers, different types of nasal sprays, oral medications or allergy shots. 

“There are medications that can be prescribed and there can also be different types of immunotherapy. Either sublingual, where we give you tablets under your tongue, or we can actually consider doing allergy shots that are so very affective for our patients,” said Dr. Hong.

If over-the-counter medications don’t improve your quality of life and your nose is still stuffy, you’re sneezing or having concentration issues, Dr. Hong says it’s time to see your physician or an allergist about prescription medications.