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.