08 December 2011

How to Save Money during Allergy Season

Whether you have suffered from seasonal allergies your whole life or it is a recent development, you are probably well aware that the seemingly innocuous pollen and dust particles drifting through the air can not only cause annoying side effects like coughing, sneezing, congestion, itching, and watery eyes; they can also completely disrupt your life and your ability to function normally. In severe cases, these allergens can even be life-threatening. As a result, most people are willing to do just about anything to get back on track. But if you’re tired of paying through the nose for prescription allergy medications, you may be seeking less expensive ways to get the same benefits. Here are just a few that could save you beaucoup bucks.

1. Buteyko breathing. This type of calculated breathing is probably best known because of the positive results it has had for people suffering from sleep apnea or asthma, but the exercises can also be useful for those dealing with breathing-related allergy symptoms. If you have hives it probably won’t help, but it can definitely be used to alleviate congestion.

2. Neti pot. You’ll probably think this little pot looks like it was made for brewing tea or hosting a genie, but in fact it is made to clear your sinuses. All you have to do is fill it with warm salt water, tilt your head sideways over a sink, and pour the fluid in through one nostril (and out the other). If you’re worried about doing it right, just watch one of the many tutorials on the web. Proponents claim it is better for clearing the sinuses than any OTC medication.

3. Medication. This can be the most expensive option, but it can also be the most effective for seasonal allergy sufferers. However, you can cut costs by trying comparable brands that your insurance covers and opting for generic versions if possible. And you can certainly try OTC meds, which may work fine for you at less cost. But if you really need the pricy stuff, look into prescription assistance programs, which may pay for part or all of your necessary medication.

4. Desensitization therapy. Okay, if you’ve looked into this option you are probably aware that it can be expensive. But here’s the thing: you have to think of it like an investment in your future. You’re going to have to pay for regular injections for a couple of years, although they frequency will taper off over time, and your insurance may or may not cover these fees and the associated costs of supplemental medication. But when you’re done, you won’t have allergies anymore (at least that’s the theory). Think about what you shell out in a year for your allergy treatments now, and multiply it by the many long years of your life, keeping in mind that most allergies worsen over time. It could be worth nipping it in the bud, not only for financial reasons, but to alleviate your long-term suffering.

5. Keep interior air clean. If nothing else, you need your home to be a sanctuary from allergies. But since you’re not likely to hermetically seal your house, consider getting an energy assessment (to see where leaks are occurring and seal them). You could also consider using an allergy specific vacuum (like the Miele S6 Vacuum, which claims to trap 99.5% of allergens), installing air purifiers, and placing HEPA filters in your HVAC system. Although these items all come with a cost, some could end up being less than your seasonal medications over time so you can breathe easy, at least on the home front.

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