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When Allergies Attack

While it’s great to be back on campus after a week of Spring Break, New Orleans’ newest Welcome Wagon may not have been exactly what some of you were expecting upon your return.   The lucky readers may be oblivious to the springtime nuisance to which I’m referring, but anyone who has recently experienced watery eyes, sinus headaches, or a runny nose is well aware of what the change of seasons brings: allergies.
Pollen can come from trees, grass or weeds and the pesky particles are so tiny that they can spread for miles through the slightest gust of wind.  This can be particularly irritating to those who are ultra sensitive to them.  In allergy sufferers, the body’s immune system mounts an attack against the pollen by producing antibodies that release a substance called histamine, which prevents the foreign particles from further invading your bodily tissues.  This tactic leads to the allergy hallmarks: inflamed mucous membranes, watery eyes and persistent sneezing.

What can you do to rid yourself of these symptoms, besides holing up indoors until the pollen has dissipated?  There are a few options:

  • Clear up watery eyes: use eye drops such as Visine-A.  They prevent histamine production and soothe the irritated blood vessels that are causing your eyes to water.
  • Heal your headache: take a decongestant that will eliminate that stuffed up feeling as well as any sinus pain you may be experiencing.
  • Snuff out your sniffles: take an antihistamine such as Claritin before you head outside.  If you forget, you can still get the relief within 30 minutes if you take it once you’ve headed out for the day.

While there’s no cure for allergies, following these tips will help you stay outside long enough to enjoy the beautiful weather that is (hopefully) headed our way in the next few months!

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