UWG Health Services provides free allergy medication to students – The West Georgian
Spring has arrived! This time of year is beautiful in Georgia, with the warmer weather unfortunately bringing pollen.
Seasonal allergies come with many symptoms, including itching, congested sinuses, sneezing, and runny nose. It can be very confusing while trying to enjoy the new season.
“As trees, grass, and various flowers bloom in the spring, many types of pollen are released into the air we breathe,” says Dr. Eric Heine, MD.
“Although many people blame yellow pine pollen, it is rarely a source of the allergy symptoms people experience due to its larger size and relative lack of allergenic proteins. However, there are many other trees in our area that can cause allergy symptoms such as maple, birch, oak, walnut, ash, and hickory.
Spring allergy season can start as early as February and continue until the end of May when different plants bloom and release their pollen. Heavy rains can cause mold to grow in shaded areas, triggering allergies in some people.
There are several things allergy sufferers can do to reduce their symptoms.
“If you’re sensitive to certain pollens, monitor the pollen count and avoid excessive outdoor activity if the count is high, if you can,” says Dr. Heine. “Staying in the air conditioning where the air is often filtered can also decrease the amount of pollen you inhale. If you have access to a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter, using it at night in your bedroom also helps eliminate pollen.
“Pollen also likes to cling to clothes and pets, so washing clothes and pets can often help reduce pollen counts in your environment,” Heine continues. “Some people also recommend rinsing the nasal passages with a Neti Pot to rid them of attached pollen.”
Fortunately, UWG Health Services offers affordable options for students with allergy symptoms.
“UWG Student Health Services has a range of medications that can help alleviate the irritation of seasonal allergies,” says Dr. Heine. “Many of these are free at the pharmacy, but consultation with a provider may be best to tailor the therapy to your particular situation.”
Dr. Heine also recommends starting allergy medications early in the season to help minimize symptoms rather than after they become prominent.
Although seasonal allergies are a real burden, Dr. Heine is keen to remind students that there is hope.
“While not usually life-threatening, seasonal allergies can really disrupt your quality of life and your ability to focus on your studies and extracurricular activities,” says Dr. Heine. “Avoiding contact with allergens is very difficult, but with proper preventative measures and medical treatment, these symptoms can at least be controlled to make allergy season more tolerable.”