Pollen index worsens symptoms of allergies

With Tallahassee’s high pollen index, students with allergies are constantly running to the clinic to get treated.

“The pollen index is so high because of the large amount of trees and flowers in the city,” said Shankar Shetty, medical director of Florida A&M University Student Health Clinic.

“The different types of plants grow throughout the year, which means that there is a high pollen buildup.”

According to Shetty, approximately 25 percent of the students who come to the clinic are treated for allergies.

Monique Potter, health educator of FAMU’s Student Health Clinic, said that allergic reactions to dust and pollen are the most common allergies treated at the clinic.

“Because of the change in seasons, there are many students who come in with sinus problems due to the amount of pollen and dust,” Potter said.

“We see the majority of our patients with these problems in the fall and spring.”

Shetty said that the most common symptoms of dust and pollen allergies are itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and headaches.

Potter explained that although there may be similar symptoms for those with dust and pollen allergies each patient is treated differently.

“For the most part, we administer over-the-counter drugs but it depends on the individual because everyone’s body responds to drugs in different ways,” she said.

Potter also added that allergy attacks do not affect daily activities for most people, but in some cases, the attacks can be extremely severe.

“During the spring when the pollen count is high, I will get bronchitis and have to use an asthma pump to breathe,” said Sakari Balam, 19, a sophomore biology/pre-medicine student from Atlanta.

She also said she has to miss class on occasion because she will have sneezing attacks or will have swollen eyes because of the large amount of dust in the dorm rooms.

Although students cannot be completely cured from allergies, the allergic reactions can be prevented.

“Students who suffer from allergies can help prevent allergy and sinus flare ups by sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning the filters in air conditioners on a regular basis,” said Carla Holloman-Horton, D.O., a family practice physician and owner of Quincy Family Medicine, Inc.

Holloman-Horton also said the best way to help control the symptoms of severe allergy and sinus problems is to see a physician and have an allergy and sinus medicine prescribed.