Spring blooms; allergies do, too

All around campus, the flowers are in bloom, and the trees are coming back to life. Many people would call it pretty, but for those with allergies this time of year is not so lovely.Spring doesn’t officially start until March 20, So that means now is a good time to gain control of those springtime allergies before they blossom into full effect. There are some who are already suffering.This year the pollen levels may be even higher, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, because of the drier winter months.The Asthma and Allergy Foundation released its list of 100 cities with the worst seasonal allergies. Making the list were big cities like Orlando at five, Miami at 23, Tampa at 34 and Jacksonville at 77. Tallahassee did not make the list. Still, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists the pollen level in Tallahassee at a high level because of the amount of tree pollen.Those suffering with the symptoms of seasonal allergies may notice the symptoms are similar to those of the common cold.Dr. Sharron C. Foster, director of Student Health Services, said students may suffer from itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, a runny nose and post-nasal drip. She explained that the difference between the common cold and allergies is the timing and the presence of a fever. “Typically a cold comes with a fever or chills,” Foster said. “Also, seasonal allergies take place usually in the fall or spring whereas most colds occur during the winter.” Allergic Rhinitis, commonly referred to as Hay fever, is a type of allergy that is the bodies’ response to the pollen in the air. Other allergens include pet dander, mold, grass and weed. Some students will not know which allergen their bodies are reacting to without a skin test.Foster said skin tests are performed by allergy specialists to determine what allergens trigger a person’s body to react. “A panel with different types of allergens is placed on a persons’ skin, usually on the back,” Foster said. “Whichever allergen the person’s body reacts to is what is targeted for treatment.” However, Foster said the skin tests are not necessary for those with mild to moderate cases of Hay fever.The doctor suggests, “Students should try over-the-counter medication first before going in to get a skin test. Those are usually only done in severe cases.”Antwon Allen, a senior public management student, has suffered from seasonal allergies his entire life but has never needed a skin test.”I’ll get a headache and have to blow my nose a lot, but I take Tylenol Allergy and Sinus or Benadryl. Those usually seem to work pretty well for me,” Allen said.Hay fever affects students’ daily lives. The more contact they have with the outdoors the worse it seems to get. Students with cases of severe allergies notice severe swelling and severe itching. If experiencing these symptoms students should seek emergency medical help.

Corbin Robinson is a junior magazine production student from Milwaukee, Wis. She can be reached at famuanhealth@hotmail.com.