From the Magazine

Feeling Sick or Tired Often? This Sneaky Allergy Could Be Causing Your Symptoms

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Feeling stuffy and lethargic even though allergy season is over? You may have nonallergic rhinitis, which causes postnasal drip that can leave you tired, hoarse, and coughing. Thankfully, these science-backed strategies restore energy fast  

Curl up with a romance.

Ever notice you get stuffed-up when you’re anxious? European researchers proved that sneezing, dripping and congestion increase with stress. 

The quick fix: curling up with a novel! Researchers at the University of Sussex in England found that spending just six minutes reading for pleasure lowers stress levels by a whopping 68 percent. “Losing ourselves in a book stimulates creativity in the brain, resulting in an almost altered state that significantly reduces stress,” explains Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, author Of Allergy-Proof Your Life ($16.72, Amazon).

Try a pepper spray.

Not only do most allergy sprays not work for nonallergic rhinitis, if used for more than a few days, they can actually make symptoms worse by causing “rebound congestion,” according to the Mayo Clinic. To the rescue: a spray powered by compounds derived from the pepper plant. “All-natural capsaicin quickly tamps down the inflammation in the nasal passageways and sinuses,” explains Schoffro Cook. 

And according to a new study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 74 percent of folks who used it reduced congestion and sneezing in under two minutes. Bonus: It tamps down headaches too! We like: Sinol-M All-Natural Nasal Spray ($12.68, Amazon).

Touch your nose.

Acupuncture and its cousin, acupressure, have been used for millennia to treat congestion. And now a German study shows they slash nonallergic rhinitis symptoms by 56 percent by regulating inflammation compounds (cytokines) linked to congestion. To do: Smile, then place an index finger to the side of each nostril, where the nose and face meet. Relax your face and massage in gentle circles for 60 seconds.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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