Seven Ways to Save On Common Allergies
Allergies make everything harder. They make it harder to sleep, harder to work, harder to play, harder to eat, harder to breathe. They also make it harder to make ends meet. Allergy medications and patient visits account for nearly $6 billion annually. Not only are allergy medications expensive, they're often never-ending. But there are ways to save money and meet your healthcare needs at the same time, whether you have seasonal allergies, pet allergies, food allergies or any other kind. Here are a few tips that can help you keep your allergy treatments in line with your budget.
1. Use Insurance If You Can
Many allergy medications are now available over the counter. On the one hand, that means they're easier to get: You don't need to see a doctor, you don't need a prescription, and you don't have to worry about your pharmacy closing – you can pick it up at any 24-hour drug store and many retail outlets. On the other hand, unlike prescription medications, they're not covered by insurance. If you have insurance (and as of 2014, you almost certainly will), you may want to ask your doctor if there are prescription medications that match your needs as well as the over the counter products.
2. Buy Generic and Seek Discounts
Rely on the advice of your doctor and pharmacist when it comes to buying generic vs. name brand, but don't assume generic is automatically inferior. Generic oral allergy medications, for example, are just as good as name brand products such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. And if you buy name brand, you may be able to find a discount from the pharmaceutical company if you're in a low-income bracket. Also, check out NeedyMeds.com, where you can find discounts of up to 80 percent off select drugs at participating pharmacies.
3. Avoid Allergens
This may sound like a piece of advice you didn't need to ask for, but it's surprising how big a difference a closed window or regularly laundered clothes can make. Stay indoors during high pollination times, which means between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. When you come inside on a high-pollen day, wash your clothes and take a shower.
4. Clean Your House. A lot.
If you're allergic to pets, dust mites, insects or other indoor allergens, you're going to have to clean your house more often and more thoroughly than other people. Mildew, dust, mold and pet dander accumulate over time and make allergies worse. Make sure to vacuum floors and furniture, dust, and launder curtains and drapes. Scrub bathrooms and kitchens and wash your linen regularly.
5. Keep Allergens Out
There are simple ways to prevent allergy attacks by keeping allergens out of your home. If you know you're allergic to pets, don't get them. If you already have them, keep them outdoors as much as possible, and don't share your bedroom with them. Set a no-smoking rule. And remove products with strong odors or fumes, such as perfumes and cleaning supplies.
6. Narrow Your List of Targets
Don't attack your allergy until you know as much about it as you can. Visit an allergist to figure out exactly what you're allergic to – or at least a good guess. Pinpointing the cause of an allergy can be agonizingly difficult, as any medication-hopper knows, but getting the best information will save you money and trouble.
7. Consider Allergy Shots
Immunotherapy doesn't work for everyone, but it does help many people find long-lasting relief. It also gives them a cheaper, simpler way to deal with their allergies than the tired routine of pills, eye drops or nasal sprays.
Spending too much on allergy treatments only adds to your problems. It's critical to find treatments and solutions you can fit within your budget. Whether it's allergy injections or more thorough house cleanings, following some of these simple steps should help you live your life and save some money along the way.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.