Allergy Season Stuffs Up St. Paul’s

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Bradford Pears bloomed all over campus last week, announcing the beginning of allergy season on campus. (photo by Ethan Molitor)

(COVINGTON, La.) — Spring is a beautiful time. The skies are blue, the temperatures are mild, and the plants are green. However, these same plants are the main culprits of one of the annoyances of human existence: allergies. Stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, inflammation, and congestion are all side effects of allergies affecting the body.

Allergies, in a sense, are just the result of a giant false alarm in the body, as proven by scientific fact.  When pollen in the air enters the human body, the immune system automatically identifies it as something harmful and tries to destroy it. This, in turn, results in the sneezing, itchy eyes, and inflammation that we’ve all come to associate with allergies.

According to WebMD, there are over 35 million Americans that suffer with allergies every year. This “seasonal epidemic” doesn’t affect everyone because some people’s immune systems are not as reactant and volatile when exposed to allergens in the air. These lucky people don’t experience these symptoms, even when their bodies are still trying to kill the pollen.

Because of all the vegetation on St. Paul’s campus, many of its students are really feeling the effects of allergies. The trees, the flowers, and the large open fields of grass are releasing more pollen on top of all the pollen being spread out by the pine trees in the surrounding area. All the sniffling and sneezing can be a distraction in the classroom, and the students have to suffer through it.

“My allergies really flare up during this time of year, and it’s really annoying with the stuffy nose that I get,” said allergy sufferer Jordan Kliebert.

National pollen count for March 30, 2015

Covington often has one of the highest pollen counts in the country. This chart from Pollen.com illustrates the national pollen count for March 30, 2015. The count for Covington on this same day: 11.8 (on a scale of 0-12), with oak, fir, and grasses as the primary culprits.

There are medicines everywhere that are said to treat allergies. No matter how many there are, there are distinct categories of medicines created to treat different symptoms. Antihistamines, medicines used to combat the influx of histamines that your body creates in response to allergens, can help prevent runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, and even hives in some more severe cases. Decongestants, however, are used almost exclusively for stuffy nose, which is caused by swollen blood vessels and tissue in the nasal cavity that can prevent people from breathing.

To learn which medicine can treat which symptoms, this WebMD article has some reliable information. For daily pollen count, go to pollen.com for accurate pollen count in your neck of the woods.

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