Spring into a box of tissues

Illustration by Laura Baker

Illustration by Laura Baker

Kelsey Davidson, Staff Writer

As spring slowly arrives, moods improve alongside the weather. But for some, the warmer weather brings something a little less cheerful: spring allergies. The stuffy nose (or runny), watery and itchy eyes, headaches and the constant sneezing are about to arrive.

“Spring time allergies really suck. They are the worse and I know the allergy seasons have been gradually getting worse, like last year’s was really bad,” said Haley Savino, an undeclared. “In terms of myself, I had the worse throat problems and I just sounded horrible because my throat gets really scratchy and itchy when allergy season comes around. It was so horrible, I had to bring a tissue box to school, it was hard times.”

“My eyes get really irritated, weird, like there are a thousand fuzz balls in the back of my eye sockets and my nose gets all stuffy,” said Nathan Baker, Philosophy major.

Sometimes allergies can be a hard thing to pinpoint with symptoms similar to a cold, but Student Health Services are working hard to keep the Mason community healthy. There is no charge to be seen by one of the healthcare providers at the office.

“An exam with provider, one of the nurse practitioners or one of the physicians here, would help us with that [whether it is allergies or a cold],” said Lisa Campo RN, adult nurse practitioner of Student Health Services. “So, we actually do examine the person’s nose and the nose will look different if it’s an allergic reaction versus if it is a cold and there are some other things that go along with it. It can sometimes be hard for the person to tell the difference.  Sometimes it will clear throughout the day, like when they are inside, in air-conditioning and then gets worse when they go outside.“

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies are greatly influenced by the weather as a windy day or mild winter could led to more pollen. Pollen is also at its worse during mid-day and the afternoon.

Campo says that the time for spring allergies is starting now, as the weather gets warmer and plants start to bloom. However, there are things that Student Health Services can do to help those suffering from allergies.

“There are quite a few things we can do, we can help students with identifying what some of their triggers might be, if it’s spring type allergies, outdoor kind of things,” Campo said.  “We can help with prescribing medications for them. We can also get them referred to an allergist if it’s really bad and they need testing. And we do offer help with allergy shots here, where they have been prescribe by their allergist if they need them. Sometimes it’s just the beginning of needing allergy medication that we can prescribe for them.”

Pollen is practically everywhere, so it is hard to escape. Even if one may never have had allergies before, this could be the season that they hit.

“Usually [students] come to this area and get allergies, but the thing is, when you live in different areas you are exposed to different pollens and you can have different reactions, but we are a very highly allergic area pollen type area” Campo said.

The ACAAI says to keep your windows and doors shut to avoid allergens, and to shower or change clothes once exposed to pollen.  Those affected can also wear a mask when doing outdoor chores and take needed medication before going outdoors.