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Springtime Sniffles: Tips and Tricks to Manage Allergies in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

According to the American College Health Association, 30.3% of college students have been diagnosed with environmental allergies (pollen, grass, dust, and mold). Allergy symptoms can range in severity, with common symptoms being congestion and itchy eyes that can cause discomfort throughout the day. With the spring semester in full swing, daily activities from walking to class in the daytime to even sleeping at night can cause flare-ups in symptoms, making getting through the day challenging. Although seasonal allergies can be annoying, they should not deter you from going outside and enjoying the May flowers. 

Medicinal solutions

The most effective way to alleviate allergies is with medication and being conscious of the source of your allergens. Seasonal allergies occur more commonly in the spring because this time of year is when the leaves grow back on trees and the flowers bloom, increasing tree and flower pollen production. This pollen then spreads from the trees onto any nearby surface it can, such as cars, buildings, walkways, and anything left outside. This is a highly efficient way for the pollen to transfer to people since the weather gradually becomes nicer and people are outside more often. Even trying to get from your dorm to your car can be daunting if everything outside has been hit with a wave of pollen. 

With spring coming in full swing, having your medicine cabinet and backpack stocked with allergy relief medicine is crucial to make the day go by easier and keep your symptoms at a minimum. A common side effect of allergy medicine is drowsiness, so keep this in mind when picking the medicine that best suits your needs. Knowing when these allergies affect you the most during the day is essential. Following GoodRx Health, allergy medicine is organized into three categories: antihistamines, nasal steroids, and decongestants. While strolling through the OTC medicine aisle, refer back to this GoodRx Health article that provides an excellent infographic comparing common allergy medications to find the best fit. 

Cleanliness is key

When faced with pollen as an everyday stressor, practicing proper cleanliness and hygiene are a significant factor in ensuring your home or dorm stays allergen-free. Although you may want to hop in bed after a long day in class, make sure you wash your hands, change clothes, and shower before coming into contact with home surfaces due to the possibility of spreading allergens onto them. This will allow you to get a better night’s sleep without a case of the sniffles. Furthermore, ensuring a clean living space can help deter allergens from entering your home. Keeping up with cleaning, such as dusting surfaces and keeping your floor tidy, can significantly reduce symptoms of spring allergies. When cleaning, it is imperative to prevent opening a window as that can invite back unwanted allergens into your home. Products that are allergen-free and made to keep surfaces that way can also be helpful when cleaning. Be sure to keep air circulation throughout your space and utilize air filters and air purifiers. 

Seasonal Allergies can be a misfortune in your spring semester, affecting all areas of health, but do not let them get in the way of going out and enjoying the nice weather. As a college student, it is easy to push off caring for your health and well-being as it can quickly become overshadowed by academic and social pressures. However, health should be your top priority, especially when allergies can also affect academic performance and social life. Be sure to keep the symptoms at bay by adopting healthy habits, and do not let these pesky allergies deter you from having some spring as it gets warmer!

Freshman Civil Engineering major from Long Island. Her interests are beauty, health, sustainability and self-care.
Raina Rahman

Hofstra '24

Junior first-generation community health major with a passion for writing!