Spring is officially here, which means allergy season is, too. In the US, there are approximately 112.8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 and 50 million of them experience seasonal allergies every year. In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness.

Allergies aren’t exactly the most budget-friendly ailment to have. On average, the annual cost of allergies exceeds $18 billion. So what can you do to help treat your seasonal allergies without breaking the bank? Here are a few simple ways you can manage your allergies on a budget.

Wear your face mask outside

Face masks are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But face masks can also be an effective technique to fight back against seasonal allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used with allergy medication, face masks can help to protect against pollen exposure. They can also help to reduce the risk of spreading other ailments like the common cold, which affects 1 billion people every year. Just be sure to wash your mask between uses to prevent pollen build-up on your mask.

Use free allergy apps

One of the best ways to avoid the worst of your seasonal allergies is to stay inside when pollen levels are particularly bad. You can monitor your area’s pollen levels by using an allergy app like AroundMe, AirVisual Air Quality Forecast, or Plume Air Report. Allergy apps have grown in popularity in recent years with daily data usage climbing by 38% between 2019 and 2020, and for good reason. Allergy apps allow you to monitor not only the pollen count in your area but also other types of allergens such as ragweed. You can view hayfever forecasts and work your day around when your allergens aren’t as active.

Use generic alternatives

Your doctor may prescribe you brand-name allergy medications, but sometimes these medications can be expensive even with insurance coverage. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist about generic alternatives to brand-name allergy meds instead. Sometimes generic brands can be just as effective, but less expensive, than brand-name medications.

Use a saline nasal rinse

A great way to make your allergy medication more effective is to use it alongside a saline nasal rinse. A saline nasal rinse can help to flush away any pollen that may be hiding in your nasal passages and irritating your sinuses. It can also help to clear your sinuses and reduce your allergy symptoms.

It’s no secret that managing your allergies is challenging, especially on a budget. But by following the tips above, you can reduce some of these seasonal costs so you can breathe and budget easier.

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