Months of perfect winter sunshine without a single winter storm. Crocuses opening in January and daffodils in bloom by February. Spring, at a time when we are all typically still hunkered by the space heater, cursing ourselves for our failure to live in Tahiti.

Yes, it’s been a generous winter. But even as March springs us forward, many people are falling back (into bed, that is). Cold-flu season has seamlessly given way to the worst month for seasonal allergies that anybody cares to remember, causing a mass congestion that’s, well, nothing to sneeze at.

When the harassed masses open their medicine cabinet, which OTC allergy medicine brands do they reach for and which are weeded out? According to Brand Keys’ 2012 Customer Loyalty and Engagement Survey, the 6 major allergy relief brands rank as follows:

  1. Claritin
  2. Zyrtec
  3. Benadryl
  4. Chlor-Trimeton
  5. Sudafed
  6. Tylenol

Their order is an indicator of how well these brands are seen to meet consumers’ expectations in the category, and have been rising in perfect time with the pollen counts. And since even front-runner Claritin does not match the lofty consumer Ideal, no one brand is truly completely considered the ‘cure for what ails’ yet.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve banked 6 good seasonal allergy tips for you:

  1. Try to stay indoors when the wind is high – pollen travels.
  2. Try to stay indoors until midday. Dawn till then is when the pollen counts are generally at their highest levels.
  3. Keep the windows closed and the air-conditioning on, giving you an allergen free bubble.
  4. Keep the grass low. It turns out that flowers are not your friend.
  5. Wear sunglasses that fit well. This will keep pollen out of your eyes.
  6. Do not sleep with unwashed hair. Pollen transfers from your hair to your pillow, increasing your odds of breathing allergens in.

The most current rankings and the suggestions above are what we can offer up for some relief at the current time. Although for what it’s worth, comedienne, Lily Tomlin once opined, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” Just a thought and Gesundheit!