3 Tips for Treating Allergies Without Going Broke

  • A recession is in full swing in the United States and other countries and it's been tough on a lot of people, what with rising prices, lost jobs and other financial challenges. If you have health problems, even if it's "just" nasal allergies, you may be in search of more economical ways to treat them.


    Here are a few tips to help you out...


    Avoidance Is the Key to Prevention


    You've probably heard it before, but avoiding your triggers is the first step in preventing allergy symptoms. Not only is it effective, for the most part, it won't cost you anything! Triggers are those sustances that set off your allergy symptoms. They're also called allergens. Examples include:

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    • Dust mites
    • Tree, grass, and weed pollen
    • Animal dander & urine
    • Mold spores
    • Insect droppings

    Irritating substances such as cigarette smoke, strong perfume and sawdust can also do the trick. I've posted previously on ways to avoid dust, tracking the pollen count, and preventing mold exposure.


    Here's the bottom line... the better you are at staying away from your allergy triggers, the less medicine you're going to need to treat the effects of exposure. It's logical, isn't it?


    Rinse Your Cares Away with a Neti Pot


    Have you heard of the Neti pot? It's a brand name for a nasal saline rinse, basically rinsing out your nasal passages with a salt water solution (saline). It's an old-timers treatment that has recently been found to be quite effective.


    The idea is you gently irrigate your nasal passages with the saline, rinsing out pollens, pet dander and other allergens, along with mucus. Many people are swearing by this treatment. It might seem a little weird or messy, but it can provide relief from allergy symptoms.


    Click here to learn more about using a Neti pot


    By the way, there are several saline rinse brands available now, or you can even make your own. Here's a recipe:

    • ½ to 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt (such as pickling or canning salt)
    • Pinch of baking soda (to prevent burning - can increase the amount as needed)
    • 1 cup of warm water (filtered or previously boiled water

    Use a nasal bulb syringe (like the ones used with babies) to gently flush out your passages with your head tilted down. Do one nostril first, and then the other.


    Go Over the Counter and/or Generic


    If you don't have health insurance and want to avoid the expense of seeing a doctor or paying for prescription medicine, then over the counter (OTC) allergy medicines may be a solution for you. Of course, there is no substitute for the care of an expert allergy doctor, but speaking as someone who is uninsured, I can understand why you might opt to try and treat mild allergies on your own.


    I wrote a post on how to know which allergy medicine is best for you, that I encourage you to read. Let me sum it up here, though. There are tons of what are known as "first generation" antihistamines available over the counter. There are also a lot of OTC decongestants. Most of these medicines are effective, when used short term. Unfortunately, they can also have bothersome side effects, such as drowsiness, that can greatly detract from their benefits.


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    Luckily, two second-generation antihistamines are now available: Claritin and Zyrtec. Both work well for most people and also have very few side effects. They rarely cause drowsiness. There are also some OTC antihistmine nasal sprays available. So, talk with your pharmacist to see what might be right for your symptoms and preferences.


    If you must go the prescription route, then ask your doctor to prescribe a generic version of the medicine, which will be cheaper than the brand names. It can save you some money.


    So, there you have it... 3 ways to save money on treating allergies!

Published On: June 02, 2009