3 Tips to Fight Allergies in Georgia, From a Georgian

For people who aren't from Georgia, or really even the south in general, spring can result in a very unpleasant surprise. Thick sheets of pollen cover every possible thing in sight, and the incessant sneezing and coughing eventually turn to a sort of lullaby at night. As someone who has lived in Georgia for almost her whole life, I can understand that this experience might be pretty jarring. Although I haven't fully mastered a way to fight allergies and the constantly changing weather, I have three tips to help combat those pesky allergies:

  1. Fight them before they get there: it is much easier to prevent allergies here rather than get rid of them once they've arrived. Once it gets to be February, I suggest taking a daily antihistamine, such as Claritin or Zyrtec. If you're someone who especially gets hit by a stuffy nose, Flonase (a nasal steroid and decongestant), sudafed (pseudoephedrine and decongestant), and a saline nasal spray are a perfect combination. Save the sudafed for those days when you really need it, but a daily usage of Flonase and a saline nasal spray with make sure you're still able to breathe and that your nasal passages won't get too dry and burn. Supplements and vitamins can be helpful as well. If you're feeling really wild, you can even get a steroid shot and an inhaler before allergy season comes around.
  2. Once they're there, give yourself some care: I'm sorry, dude. Once they get ahold of you, there's little you can do besides just riding out the symptoms. However, investing in a steaming device (cheap at CVS or Rite-Aid) and tons of fruits and water may help alleviate some of them.  Lots of water and tea (especially ginger tea with honey) will help to wash it all out of your system, and make sure to get as much rest as possible so that your body has time to heal. Shutting windows and making sure the indoors are clean and absent of pollen is also important. Although it tastes funky, Mucinex also does a really good job of making your cough/sniffles more productive and washing all of that gunk out of your system.
  3. Small things may be the biggest factor: you see how everything is covered in that yellow dust outside? What makes you think that they aren't sticking to you? When you get home from being outside, almost immediately kick off your shoes and change clothes to get away from any potential pollen. Going along with this idea, try to take a shower as often as possible! Not only will you be washing off any possible allergens, but the steam will also help clear up your sinuses as well. Keep the AC on as well in order to keep the air flowing in your dorm so that no pollen settles anyway and the air isn't stuffy!

Oxford is a beautiful campus with tons of trees and flowers, but that also means that there are a LOT of allergens lurking about. If you're from Georgia like me, you know how horrible these symptoms can be. If you're new around here, I'm sorry. It can be tough, but there are many precautions and ways to combat the allergies! The Student Health Center also has pamphlets and other suggestions you may find helpful, and they may be able to suggest other medicines for you.