Allergy season is upon us, and just as soon as you blow your nose, social media blasts with “hacks” to make your sniffing and itchy eyes more tolerable. But do they work?

Dr. Tania Elliott, a board-certified internist, allergist, and immunologist, says allergies are an abnormal reaction to something normally found in the environment. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, and redness, which is why many seek relief.

“The most common allergens are things found in the air,” she adds. “In the spring, you get allergies to tree pollen. In the summer, it’s more grass pollen. And in the late summer until the first frost, it’s between ragweed pollen and outdoor fungi.”

On TikTok, people are looking for ways to alleviate seasonal allergies. The hashtag #allergyhack has 4.2 million views, #allergyrelief has 6.3 million views, and #seasonalallergies has 18.3 million.

We weighed experts to determine whether tips recommended by social media are helpful or a hoax.

Do local honey and nettle tea help with allergies?

A popular tip shared online is that consuming local honey can help treat and prevent allergies.

It assumes that honey from a local area contains seasonal pollen that is representative of your region,” said Dr. Jeanne M. Lomas, director of allergy and immunology at WellNow Allergy. “Consuming the honey regularly would give you a ‘dose’ from the pollen, hoping to build up an immunity to these allergens. Unfortunately, scientific studies have not consistently been able to demonstrate the benefits of topical honey for allergy relief.”

Elliott agrees that this strategy of inducing tolerance makes sense in theory — and is similar to what is done with allergen immunotherapy. However, the difference is that with immunotherapy, medical professionals know exactly what the person is allergic to and control the amount given to them, steadily increasing the amount over time.

“There are a few reasons why the local honey concept is inaccurate. One is the types of flowers that bees pollinate for the most part aren’t the things that cause people to get allergies,” she says. “(And) there’s no good way to increase its dosage to get an impactful immune system response.”

“That said, there’s not much harm in it,” she says, adding that she suspects people will start to feel better with this method because the honey itself has a soothing effect on a scratchy throat.

Does TikTok’s ‘Pomegranate Pump’ Really Work? The answer may surprise you.

This ‘Internal Shower’ Potion Went Viral On TikTok: What Is It? And is it safe?

For more certain results, Lomas recommends allergy immunotherapy, prescribed by an allergist in the form of injections or FDA-approved tablets, which are “a well-studied and highly effective way to provide controlled doses of allergens.”

“Allergy immunotherapy is the only potentially curative treatment for seasonal and environmental allergies,” she notes.

Another ingredient that people claim to help with their allergies is nettle-leaf tea.

While nettle leaf and butterbur plant are natural antihistamines, Elliott says the challenge with some herbal supplement options is that you don’t know how much you’re consuming.

Lomas generally asks patients to be careful with herbal supplements and remedies.

“For the general population, they can be safe and effective, but for most of my patients, who are allergic to plants — trees, grasses, weeds — they can be harmful,” she warns. “Herbal remedies may belong to the same family of plants as some of the seasonal pollens, and so I have seen allergic reactions to several plant products and essential oils, especially when applied directly to the body.”

If patients decide to try them, Lomas recommends exercising caution and discussing any side effects with your allergist.

To help soothe allergy-induced itchy eyes, some on social have suggested using a cold face mask or compress.

This hack is doctor approved! “If you have an allergy, it causes swelling in the arteries,” explains Elliott. “So the cold itself will work to combat that.”

In addition to helping to soothe swelling and redness, Elliott explains that the cold can almost trick the brain into ignoring your itch because the sensations of itching, cold, and pain are transmitted by the same sensor and “cannot transmit all of those things at once. “

More tips to help with allergy season

Lomas explains that people can take environmental precautions to reduce exposure to seasonal pollen.

“These include keeping windows closed and running (air-conditioning) units, when available, in the warmer months,” she adds. “Removing coats, clothing, and shoes and washing after extended periods outdoors can also help reduce pollen exposure. If you cannot bathe immediately, try to wash your hands regularly. And try your face (especially eyes and nose) to reduce pollen transmission to these areas.”

Pets can also track pollen on their bodies, so hand washing after petting or grooming animals (and bathing your animals periodically) can be helpful, adds Lomas.

Medical treatments for allergies are also available without a prescription.

“These include oral antihistamines (pills, chewable tablets, or liquids) that can be taken daily as needed, medicated nasal sprays, and various eye drops,” Lomas says. “My favorite is non-medicated eye drops that contain only lubricant. These can be kept in the refrigerator all day and placed in the eyes for a cooling effect.”

Elliot recommends treating allergies before they flare up, if possible.

“If you know fall is your season, start a regimen in late August,” she explains. “Getting into this routine before your allergies get bad will give you the best chance of controlling things. Once your allergies flare up, it’s much harder to stop the inflammation.”

Lomas recommends talking to your doctor if allergy symptoms persist despite over-the-counter medications. And if you’re not sure what you’re allergic to or what medication to take, Elliot suggests seeing an allergist who can confirm a diagnosis and put you on the right treatment plan.

Otherwise, happy (careful) hacking!

Can Daily Coffee Use Extend Your Lifespan? This is what the latest research says.

Do you have an injury? Should you reach for an ice pack or heating pad?


I have been blogging since August 2011. I have had over 10,000 visitors to my blog! My goal is to help people, and I have the knowledge and the passion to do this. I love to travel, dance, and play volleyball. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I started writing my blogs when I lived in California. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write something while listening to music and looking at the ocean. When I moved to Texas, I found a new place to write. I would sit in my backyard while everyone else was at work, and I could write all day.