You vs. springtime: Dawn of the allergies (A scenario guide to coping with spring allergies)

Spring is officially upon us! That means the flowers will bloom, the grass will be greener and the bees will buzz around campus. But let’s face it: With the commencement of spring, it carries with it one of the most undesirable effects of the season: Spring allergies. I mean, you don’t hear about summer allergies or winter allergies as much as spring allergies, do you? So you’ve probably had those times in class when you just can’t stop sneezing for some reason or maybe can’t figure out why staying indoors isn’t helping with your allergies. So, what do you do? Here’s some scenarios you’ll probably run into during this spring season and how to survive them:

It’s You vs. The Pollen From the Outside, and you want to make sure you win against those pesky irritants.

  1. “Ah geez, I’m in the middle of lecture and my eyes are watery and I can’t stop sneezing and I don’t have anything on me that will help.”

For the sake of your classmates and your professor, it’s best to quietly get up from your seat and go to the nearest restroom. Sure, maybe you’ll feel like you’ll attract too much attention by getting out of your seat (especially if you have class in one of those tightly packed MSE lecture halls), but honestly, it’s for the best, especially if you begin to be a nuisance to your classmates and interrupt lecture with your sneezing. Once you’re in the restroom, wash your face and your hands to get rid of any troublesome spring pollen you probably have on you that’s causing you to sneeze uncontrollably. Afterward, blow your nose but not with the rough paper towels you get after you wash your hands. The stalls in the bathroom have softer toilet paper that you can use as a substitute for Kleenex. In case your allergies return mid-lecture, make sure to save some toilet paper to use during that time. There should also be a hand sanitizer somewhere in the restroom so it’s best to make use of it as well. If it gets worse and doesn’t stop then you may just need to head back home instead of staying in class, and that’s perfectly alright, which leads into the next point.

  1. “I’m finally home and indoors, but for some reason my allergies still keep acting up.”

So let’s say you’re back at your dorm or your apartment and you just want to relax and stay away from the spring pollen outside but you still have all the symptoms: Runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing. The best remedy? Take a shower. You’ve probably attracted so much pollen traversing in and around campus that it’s time to get it off of you. Make sure you put on some clean clothes afterward and keep any clothes you’ve worn when outside, as well as your shoes, far away from you. Don’t forget to close any windows or doors that will allow any contamination from the outside to enter your home. Just pretend you’re doing a full-on quarantine. It’s for your own good. It’s You vs. The Pollen From the Outside, and you want to make sure you win against those pesky irritants.

  1. “I’m sorry, it still keeps happening to me even after all the advice.”

Either I probably gave you bad advice or the more likely scenario (hopefully) is that you need to visit a doctor and get some medication. For constant itchy and watery eyes, get some prescription eye drops. For runny noses and constant sneezing, consider using decongestants such as nasal sprays. These will help temporarily relieve any allergies you have. If somehow you have severe allergies, then sorry to break it to you, but you’ll need to visit and talk to a doctor on how to relieve your symptoms.

  1. “Cool, any other tips? What about if I have to go outside?”

Springtime can sometimes be pretty warm and sunny and no doubt the pollen count will be pretty high (darn that mother nature). Pollen count is high early at dawn — from 5 a.m. to around 10 a.m. So try to avoid those times if you can if you don’t want severe allergies. If you’re out and about doing your thing during the day, wear some sunglasses. Not only will people not see how watery your eyes are but it will also shield your eyes from any pollen, therefore lessening the severity of itchy eyes. And for the pet lovers out there: Your pets probably love being outside (especially dogs) and will no doubt attract pollen. Be wary of your pets at home if they’ve been outside; they might just be the source of your problems if your allergies keep acting up even while indoors. Give them a nice, thorough bath and you should be set!

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