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.