How to Save Money During Allergy Season

by Jamie Simmerman · 4 comments


Here in Ohio, the pollen count is high enough to make a dust bunny sneeze. Allergy season is upon us — and that means additional costs in the form of tissues, tissues, and more tissues, not to mention the multiple boxes and bottles of over-the-counter allergy medicines.

Here are a few tips to help you take a smaller bite out of your budget this allergy season.

9 Ways to Treat Allergies for Less

1. Try a saline nasal rinse before reaching for the pills.

The squeeze bottle Netti pot is sold over the counter and will last you several allergy seasons. It helps flush out pollen and soothe irritated sinus passageways, while taking care of the nasty drainage that makes allergies so painful.

2. Start small.

For many seasonal allergy sufferers, a dose of Sudafed or Claritin OTC will do wonders. These medications are often cheaper than other treatments. In fact, many stores will sell generic Sudafed for less than five dollars.

3. Go generic.

Generic medications are usually just as effective as their brand name counterparts. If your doctor gives you a prescription for allergy medications, ask about generic alternatives or even medication samples before leaving the office. Samples let you “try before you buy” to find out which medicine works best for you.

4. Don’t skip doses on days when the pollen count is lower.

Keep taking your allergy medicine every day until allergy season is over, which is usually after trees and spring flowers have stopped blooming. Rain and weather conditions can affect the pollen count, but your body can still react to lower pollen counts. Once your immune system is fighting off the imaginary threat of pollens, it can trigger a response for nearly anything. Antihistamines and other allergy medications can help keep your system under control.

5. Try allergy shots, even for a short time.

Hate needles? You’re not alone. But even a few weeks of allergy treatments can help reduce your lifetime reaction to allergens.

6. Don’t skimp on the tissues.

I’m generally all for being cheap about anything that gets flushed or thrown away, but during allergy season, you’re likely to use dozens of tissues a week. All that blowing can leave the sensitive skin of your nose and face raw if you use a harsh tissue. Better quality tissues also hold up better, requiring only one tissue instead of multiple cheap tissues.

7. Wash your hands and face often, including your nose.

Washing away allergens on your hands and face will help decrease reactions and keep you healthier. Try not to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Introducing allergens directly into a mucous membrane can intensify your allergic reaction.

8. Drink plenty of water.

When allergies strike, it’s very similar to actually being sick. In fact, your body doesn’t know the difference between those fragrant lilacs and the flu bug. It treats them both the same: as a threat to your body. You can run a low-grade fever during allergy season, feel achy, and experience night sweats. A few extra glasses of water will help your body function better while it fights off allergens.

What do you use to fight allergies without blowing up your budget?

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  • Martha says:

    I am highly allergic to pollens and just can’t stop sneezing once I am affected. I agree with you that one should not avoid their doses even when the pollen count is lesser. Also I try to keep my surroundings as clean as possible and do not hang my laundry outside.

  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle says:

    I stopped hanging my laundry outside and it really helped my allergies. Before I would hang my bed linens on the line and then put them on the bed and lay my head on a pillowcase full of pollen every night. I hang all my laundry in my basement now. This helped my dog with his allergies too.

    I love fresh air but these few weeks when everything is just starting to bud are the worst for me. Once everything has burst open my allergies settle right down.

  • @debtblag says:

    I like the idea of going generic, but I’d also extend that to tissues. I’ve found that no-name brand tissues are generally pretty good compared to the expensive stuff and I have pretty sensitive skin

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    My wife has fairly bad allergies so this is something we look at every year. She’s big on using the nasal rinse…though she says it’s not really fun and we also buy generic as much as we can.

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