A portrait of a sneezing woman over a yellow field of flowers

Treating allergies needn’t be expensive

Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic Allergy StoryYou sneeze. You wheeze. You cough and sniffle. You’re allergic to pollen and you fear you’re in for a summer of misery.

Not necessarily. There are proven ways of treating allergy symptoms – and they don’t have to be expensive.

Dr. Richard Dew, Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic’s medical director, recommends steroid nasal sprays. “These are probably the most effective things for seasonal allergies,” he says.

One piece of good news is that some steroid nasal sprays are now available as generics, which means they are not as costly as name brands. One such generic, Nasacort, is available over the counter without a prescription.

Dr. Dew also recommends Clariten, Allegra and Zyrtec, which do not cause drowsiness or high blood pressure and have minimal side effects.

He cautions that steroid nasal sprays should be used regulary throughout the allergy season. They don’t grant immediate relief but take a day or two to kick in. Most people suffer from allergies in the spring and again in the fall. Start the nasal spray regime when congestion begins around April and continue it through June, when you should gradually taper off its use. The same thing can be done in the fall season, usually from late August or early September through to the first frost.

However, Dr. Dew warns patients not to use decongestant nasal sprays, because if you become sensitized to them you will need to use them all the time. Also, “A lot of people use Benadryl for allergies,” he says. “It’s not that effective, and it makes you drowsy.”