Decades ago, a friend I’ll identify by code name Lars of O told me if I lived long enough I’d learn firsthand the beatitudes of allergies.

Apparently I made the cut.

Of course the realization that I was suffering from allergies didn’t come easily.

In my case, working on a meager budget and lacking health insurance, I stubbornly fought what I thought was a common cold for six weeks before giving up and going to the doctor.

Whether that physician graduated tops in his class at medical school I’ll never know, but it took him 10 seconds max to diagnose my problem as allergies. He then sent me away carrying a hefty bill for his 10 seconds of expertise.

Like other fringe elements of the healthcare industry, the companies that manufacture allergy medications are involved in the war of gaining my business and the business of others suffering with allergies.

Even at the Safeway store in Enterprise, prices vary widely and I doubt if my allergies are better treated by a 70-cent tablet of Zyrtec than they are by a 5-cent tablet of Safeway brand Allergy Relief.

A lady who had a strong impact on my life taught me, among other things, how to shop effectively.

Not carrying a calculator, I might have been able to figure this out on my own, but the fine print on the label I was taught to read verified my thinking that buying a bottle filled with 200 tablets of Safeway brand Allergy Relief for $9.99 was a better purchase than buying a bottle holding 100 tablets of Safeway brand Allergy Relief priced at $8.99. The difference was 5 cents per tablet compared to 9 cents per tablet.

Sure, it cost me an additional dollar but easy come, easy go.

Ain’t the Internet great? I can spend less than 10 minutes online and become an expert on allergies.

Did you know that 50 million Americans suffer from allergies; that the worst place in the United States to live if you want to be allergy-free is Knoxville, Tenn.; or that New York City-based allergist Clifford Bassett recommends visiting a physician to isolate what type of allergy you have and then be treated accordingly?

Dr. Bassett probably recommends Zyrtec, too!

Although the powerful pharmaceutical companies certainly are not supportive, I think there’s something to this wellness kick that’s slowly gaining ground in America.

Instead of treating a disease or ailment after the disease or ailment has negatively impacted an individual, why not be proactive and stress preventative medicine?

But what do I know? I’m so out of date that I still think nuclear power plants are evil. To my feeble mind, creating the most hazardous substance known to man with no means to dispose of it defies logic; no matter how much power is generated.

Back to allergies …

WebMD, a website I trust, provides a long list of allergies ranging from hay fever to plant allergies (I remember poison oak humbling me to the point where I wore a loose-fitting pink moo moo dress with no shame) to pet allergies to mold allergies to a long list of food allergies and much more.

Potential preventative cures for allergies include honey, herbs such as stinging nettle leaf, quencetin (made from the skins of onions and apples), and cool-mist humidifiers.

I priced a cool-mist humidifier one time to combat my allergies, but decided I could get by for many years on 5-cent tablets of Allergy Relief and save money.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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