1. How to beat allergy season

    The 'other' allergy season

    Forget "spring fever." So-called seasonal allergies can strike all year long -- and for many people, autumn allergy season can bring as much sneezy, wheezy misery as spring, if not more.

    The problem this time of year in many parts of the country is ragweed, and I'm already seeing reports that it's out in force -- especially in the Southeast and even parts of the Midwest.

    And if ragweed hasn't hit your part of the country yet... just wait. Ragweed is common in all 50 states -- and if that's not enough to get your nose running, there are other threats in the air.

    If you had a wet summer, expect mold -- and even mold you can't see can find its way to your sinuses and make you sick.

    Many people buy club-size packages of antihistamines and other medications to make it through allergy season, but that's a habit that can get expensive fast. It can also be frustrating, as the drugs can lose effectiveness over time.

    And many people battle side effects such as dry mouth and drowsiness.

    There are much better ways to breathe easy no matter where you live, what allergy season it is or what you're allergic to. Start with butterbur supplements, which have been proven to be as effective as one of the best-selling allergy meds.

    But I consider that a short-term solution, or a solution for people with only mild allergies.

    For long-term relief, homeopathic remedies can desensitize you to the very allergens that are making you sick.

    I recommend allium cepa and/or nux vomica for classic hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose, and euphrasia -- made from the eyebright plant -- for symptoms more in the eyes. And for ragweed, try homeopathic ambrosia.

    A holistic medical doctor can test you for common allergens and help desensitize you to them naturally, so you can make it through allergy season without any worries.

  2. Why migraine meds don't work

    Migraine meds fail most of the time

    If you want to see an exercise in futility, take a look at how mainstream migraine meds treat patients.

    Actually, a more accurate way to put it would be to take a look at how mainstream migraine meds fail migraine patients -- because new research confirms that for most patients, treatment comes up empty.

    Only between 200 and 400 of every 1,000 migraine patients sees a benefit from migraine meds -- and by "benefit," I don't even mean a cure. Just a reduction in the number of headaches by half or more.

    But while the drugs may not bring real relief, they do bring something else: side effects so bad that many people stop taking the migraine meds even when they do help, according to the study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

    I can't say I blame them. The side effects of those drugs can be worse than a migraine, and include sleep disorders, weight gain, sexual problems, hair loss, and more.

    If you want real relief from migraines, there are two steps you need to take.

    First, turn to natural remedies that can help reduce both the frequency and severity without the side effects. Butterbur, for example, has been shown to cut the number of headaches in half.

    That's not a solution, but it's a good start.

    The second step is to find your migraine triggers.

    That may sound simple, and for some lucky people it is simple. If your headaches are caused by something obvious -- like booze -- then all you need to do is steer clear of that cause.

    But for many people, the trigger isn't nearly as obvious or as easy to avoid. Headaches could be caused by food additives that aren't always listed properly on the label -- like MSG, which is hidden behind a dozen or so other names.

    Migraines can also be unrelated to diet. They can be triggered by everything from high levels of stress to low levels of certain hormones. A holistic doctor can test you for all the possible causes and work with you on a natural solution -- a solution that will bring real and lasting relief without the risks.

  3. Botox injections for allergy relief

    Botox is being pushed for allergy relief, but there are much better and safer way to rid yourself of the sniffles and sneezes.

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