PHOENIX — Watery eyes, runny nose, and the nasal itch that you just can't seem to scratch, all signs pollen is blooming in the Valley.
Between COVID-19 and colds, the allergy symptoms can get confusing but, doctors say your eyes really are the giveaway.
Dark circles and redness are signatures of allergy sufferers. You shouldn't have a fever or body aches, that would signal something more serious.
For relief, Dr. Vanessa Cano says her own go-to is steroid nasal spray that is now available over the counter under the Flonase and Nasacort labels.
Her second choice is antihistamine tablets but, not all brands are created equal.
"Stick with Xyzal, Zyrtec even Allegra. Claritin has been phased out, it doesn't work as well, and don't use Benadryl." said Dr. Cano who is a pharmacist in the Valley.
For children, she suggests the Neilmed Neti-pot to help flush their nasal passages. She cautions you to not use tap water, it must be drinking water. For kids under two years old, Dr. Cano says saline nasal spray will help. Always talk to your pediatrician first.
When the wind is blowing pollen counts go up so it's best to limit time outside on those days but, if you insist on getting outdoors even on high pollen count days then what you do when you get home makes a difference.
"You may want to wear a mask outdoors when the pollen count is high. When you come home, change your clothes. If you have a pet with you wipe them down with baby wipes to make sure they're not bringing in those allergens." said Dr. Cano.
You can check the pollen count at pollen.com.
If nothing is working and you're still sneezing, then it's time for an allergy blood test because it may not be an allergy but rather an irritant.