Seasonal allergies are popping up

Nedda Pourahmady

While flowers bloom and the sun shines, seasonal allergies begin to affect many people.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from all kinds of allergies. The site also reports allergies as the fifth leading chronic disease among Americans of all ages.

Rebecca Tester, registered nurse at Trinity Health Care Center in Steubenville, said people can be allergic to a number of things, including animals, dusts, mites and certain medications.

Pollen in the air, grass and ragweed are some triggers for seasonal allergies, Tester said.

Symptoms associated with seasonal allergies include hay fever, runny or stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes or a scratchy throat, she said.

Asthma-like symptoms and nasal congestion can also be brought on by these allergies, she said.

For treatment of allergies, Tester said there are both over-the-counter and prescription drugs available.

Medications such as Claritin, Benadryl and various other anti-histamines are available over the counter, Tester said.

She also said prescription drugs available to allergy sufferers include Allegra, Zyrtec and Humibid.

Tester said a person should not overlook or try to ignore their symptoms if they are persistent or become worse.

“Get to the doctor and get prescriptions,” she said.

People who constantly battle with their allergies can reduce the severity of symptoms simply by watching the weather forecasts, Tester said.

“Weather reports tell when pollen and mold counts are high,” she said. “In these cases, you should stay inside.”

She further advised students to stay away from anything that may trigger an allergic reaction, whether a person is allergic to grass, pollen or pet dander.

Cody Nelson, freshman music education major, said his allergies usually don’t act up until around Easter.

“First I’ll sneeze a lot, then my eyes will itch,” Nelson said. “I usually just take Benadryl or whatever I can get my hands on.”

Junior psychology major Harrison Heller said he suffers from seasonal allergies that act up the most at the beginning of spring. Heller said he takes Zyrtec and advises others who battle with allergies to take their medications as well.

According to the AAFA Web site, allergies have a genetic component. If one parent has any kind of allergy, there is a one in three chance that each of their children will have an allergy.

Furthermore, the AAFA states if both parents have allergies, there is a seven in 10 chance their children will also have allergies.

According to the AAFA, there are currently no cures for allergies. However, the site mentions they can be managed by prevention and treatment.

Americans are suffering from allergies now more than ever, according to the AAFA.

“It is among the country’s most common, yet often overlooked, diseases,” according to the AAFA report.

Contact features correspondent Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected]