Editorial: Tips to combat allergy season

Nothing is worse than stepping outside to enjoy a warm, spring day only for nature to wage war on your sinuses.

Spring inevitably brings allergy season as the shift in weather conditions–or in the case of Maryland, a compilation of all environmental aggressors–sends pollen airborne. Allergy symptoms can range from congestion and sneezing to headaches and even illness.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 50 million adults suffer from allergies each year.

Now that spring is practically in full bloom, here are some tips to survive the allergy season.

  1. Visit a doctor. Seasonal changes can also lead to the common cold or a virus, whose symptoms may be mistakenly disguised as allergies. The best preventative measure is to make an appointment with your local doctor’s office, or Stevenson University’s on-campus Wellness Center, to determine if it’s just seasonal allergies or something more.
  2. Find symptom relief. Head to your local drugstore for some affordable, over-the-counter allergy medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, and more. If you find that these medicine options aren’t working, see an allergist for a prescription with more long-lasting relief.
  3. Clean your spaces regularly. Pollen, dust, and other allergy triggers can follow you into your home and onto your clothes and furniture. Set aside time over the weekend for some spring cleaning—do a load (or more) of laundry to start the week with fresh clothes and bed sheets; dust off your desk, shelves, and other objects you come into contact with like your laptop and phone; and let fresh air run through your home to clear any allergens.
  4. Practice self-care. If allergy season hits you hard, remember to take care of yourself to prevent your body from succumbing to sickness. Especially in the midst of finals season, it’s important to rest often. Take a hot shower or bath to clear nasal congestion, take a nap if you have a lingering headache, and so on.

Listening to your body’s signals is the best preventative practice. Many people tend to brush off their symptoms as “just allergies,” but they can progress into serious illness if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Spring may be the worst time of year for some, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop and smell the roses.