Springtime! The birds are chirping, the plants are blooming, and the allergies are . . . overwhelming.

If you are experiencing a runny nose, watery eyes, and swollen sinuses, here are some tried and true remedies for hay fever.

Oral Antihistamines

When you have an allergic reaction, your body produces chemicals called histamines, which increase allergy symptoms. Oral antihistamines help reduce histamines, which in turn diminishes your allergy symptoms. Examples are Benadryl, Clarinex, Allegra, and Chlor-Trimeton. Be careful with these medications, though, as they make you drowsy. It is best to take them before bedtime. Many antihistamines can be bought at pharmacies and grocery stores, but some are prescription-only medications.

Eye Drops

There are two types of eye drops: antihistamines drops, which help with itchiness and watery eyes, and decongestant drops, which reduce eye redness and puffiness. Be mindful that using eye drops too often for too long could increase the allergy symptoms found above. It is best to use eye drops for short periods of time or sparingly.

Nasal Spray

Although the initial feeling of breathing in the spray can be overwhelming, we promise it is worth it. Using nonprescription fluticasone nasal sprays can help reduce your allergy symptoms by shrinking the blood vessels and tissues in your sinuses.

When using nasal spray, follow the directions and adhere to the proper dosage listed on the bottle. Using a nasal spray for more than three days could result in what is called the rebound effect, meaning that you have built up a tolerance for it and may need more medication to reduce congestion.

Sinus Rinsing

There are several ways to flush out the mucus and allergens in your sinuses. Pour a saline solution into one nostril, or consider buying a nasal irrigation system (neti pots). Both are great options!

If you feel your seasonal allergies coming on, try one or more of the methods above to reduce your symptoms. As always, follow all directions and suggested dosages and consult with your doctor before starting a new routine.