When I was growing up, I had constant allergies. In the summer, many, many things in the outdoors would set me off. In the winter, dust and mold kept me reaching for the Kleenex. I was forever sneezing and blowing my nose.

This culminated during a trip to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands with my husband-to-be. We were at an outdoor restaurant and I was sneezing so hard I could barely eat my barbecued crab sandwich. Tears were streaming down my face, and the diners around me were starting to edge away. Finally, a kind gentlemen came over and told me what I should do about it. It sounded completely bizarre and I didn't believe him, but I also wanted to eat my lunch. So finally, I excused myself to the bathroom, tried what he suggested … and it worked. Ever since then, it has been my secret weapon whenever allergies give me grief and I start a sneezing fit.

Though this cure can be done anywhere, it's easiest in a bathroom. Not only because it looks very strange and bathrooms have a modicum of privacy, but also because the sink is very handy.

Wash your hands.

Turn on the faucet and cup your hands beneath it.

Once you have a little pool of water in your cupped hands, submerge your nose in it. Hold it there as long as you can.

Release the water. Repeat if needed.

Dry the outside of your nose with a paper towel, or let it air dry. Your nose may feel tender and tickly, but you'll no longer be actively sneezing.

Tip

Uncontrollable sneezing happens because some irritants in the nose aren't getting sneezed out. The water damps everything down in the nose, including the irritants.

Use water from whatever is handy—bottles, hoses, drinking fountains.