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Cheap Ways to Fight Off Allergies

Cheap Ways to Fight Off Allergies

By Althea Chang | MainStreet.com

June 08, 2009

The pollen-laden daisy chain of events that leaves many wheezing and sneezing is well known: April showers bring May flowers, which in turn bring spring allergies.

If blooming flowers signal the beginning of a miserable allergy season for you, there may be treatments available that won’t make you drowsy, even if you’re short on cash.

Consider Going Generic

When the prescription drug Claritin was first introduced to the market by Schering-Plough (Stock Quote: SGP), allergy sufferers who had to stay awake during the day rejoiced. Now, you can get four months’ worth (more than a spring supply) of this over-the-counter medication, known generically as loratadine for less than $30 at Drugstore.com (Stock Quote: DSCM).

The name brand and store brand versions have the same active ingredient, work the same way, and last up to 24 hours. And Wyeth’s (Stock Quote: WYE) Alavert brand has a version that dissolves in your mouth.

How to Save when Sticking to Sprays

Nasal sprays can also be used to get directly to the source of your allergies without making you sleepy.

Nasalcrom, for example, is used to prevent and treat runny, stuffy and itchy noses and sneezing related to hay fever or other nasal allergies. Price: $15.49 at AmericaRx.com.

Unlike Schering-Plough’s Afrin decongestant spray, which reportedly causes addiction in some users due to a rebound congestion the spray can cause, Nasalcrom, from the McNeil-PPC division of Johnson & Johnson (Stock Quote: JNJ), treats the allergies themselves and not just the stuffiness.

Cheaper Ways to Ditch Eye Itch

If itchy eyes are your biggest weakness during allergy season and you don’t have insurance to cover a $100 bottle of prescription eye drops, Bausch & Lomb makes two types of over-the-counter treatments that may ease the effects of pollen, ragweed, grass and animal dander on your eyes. Opcon-A can be used to treat eye allergy symptoms up to four times a day. Price: $6.99 at Walgreens (Stock Quote: WAG). If you don’t want to ruin your makeup in the middle of the day, Bausch & Lomb’s Alaway lasts 12 hours. Price: $12.99 at Drugstore.com.

New Age Savings: Going Holistic

Sinus irrigation, the method yogis use with their neti pots (price: $16.95) and die-hard health gadget lovers use with not-so-cheap Water Pik like devices (Price: $97), is a great way to wash out allergens from your system. But if you’re looking for a treatment that’s simpler and more comfortable, there are a number of natural allergy remedies on the market.

Using standard homeopathic formulas that treat specific symptoms, BioAllers Sinus & Allergy Relief treats sinus pain, congestion, runny nose and sneezing without side effects and drowsiness for people with pollens, mold, yeast or dust allergies. Price: $10.59.

Although allergies vary from region to region because of the kinds of trees and grasses grow in specific areas, BioAllers works regardless since it focuses not on the specific allergen, but the compounds in allergens of a specific category that have certain chemical constituents.

Using an entirely different treatment method, Sinol Allergy & Sinus Relief Spray contains capsaicin, the ingredient in hot peppers that creates heat, to ease allergy symptoms. You’d think peppery substances would burn or make you sneeze, but Sinol’s allergy spray, which also contains eucalyptus oil, aloe, rosemary extract and sea salt, is meant to relieve allergy symptoms and reduce irritations in the mucous membranes, according to the company. It also prevents allergy symptoms, drains and cleans sinuses quickly and is non-habit forming. Price: $14.95.


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