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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Students combat seasonal allergies

Ever since graduate student Brandon Hord was in high school, he has found himself struggling with seasonal allergies.

“Allergies runs in my family,” Hord said. “I’ve never taken any medication for them but they can get pretty serious.”

Things such as pollen, ragweed, trees and certain types of grass affect people’s immune system, which makes their bodies react differently and produce effects such as itchy eyes, sinus congestion, fatigue and headaches.

Faith Yingling, director of wellness at the Student Recreation Center, said allergies are hereditary and an individual is more at risk of development if their parents have them. If one’s parent has allergies, the individual has a 50 percent chance of developing them and a 75 percent chance if both parents have them.

“Your immune system thinks allergies are a foreign substance and needs to develop something to fight it off,” Yingling said. “Allergies can be developed at any time. Sometimes they’re developed during childhood and then go away, but then can come back.”

Susan Perkins, certified nurse practitioner at the Student Health Service, said people usually obtain allergies when trees and other plants start to bloom.

There are many things to do to prevent seasonal allergies, such as taking medications before the effects of the allergies start to take place.

“People should shower at night instead of at the beginning of the day because of pollen levels and contaminating one’s bed,” Perkins said. “People should also sleep with the windows open at night and start taking medications two weeks before the allergy season starts.”

Hord said his allergies make it difficult for him to focus during the day on his school work and he gets strong sinus headaches frequently throughout the allergy season.

“It’s very stressful trying to do homework when I get a bad headache,” Hord said. “I’ll wake up with red eyes and it feels bad.”

Allergies can be developed anywhere and people of all ages can obtain them, Yingling said. It also has to do with where one lives and to what kind of substances they are exposed to each day, she said.

“Some triggers consist of extreme temperatures and emotional stress so if someone keeps a diary of when these things typically happen, it can act as a prevention,” Yingling said. “People should always talk with their health care provider and figure out what may be best for them in dealing with allergies.”

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