Tori Smith – Staff Writer
It’s official: spring is finally here. After a cold, lonely winter of isolation, blossoming flowers and green grass is just what Gusties need.
That is unless you’re an allergy-sufferer like me. While I want nothing more than to finally step outside to soak up the newfound sunshine and fresh air, my constant sneezing and coughing has me running indoors and boarding up the windows.
This may sound like exaggeration, but I assure you it’s not. While home for Easter this year, I spent a good amount of time outside in the beautiful 60-70° weather with my family. I didn’t think much of it until Sunday night when I developed a bad sore throat.
Normally, I wouldn’t be so worried about a measly sore throat, but considering we’re currently living in a global pandemic, I was pretty freaked out. I convinced myself it was COVID and cancelled everything that week, even my 21st birthday.
Luckily, my parents were kind enough to celebrate with me as soon as our test results came back negative.
By that time, though, my sore throat developed into constant coughing and sneezing fits. I continued to feel sick for an entire week after Easter all because my body was convinced that pollen was trying to kill me. Survival of the fittest clearly doesn’t apply to me.
Ever since that dreadful week, I have avoided spending time outside as much as possible. This is no easy task. Walking past students blissfully eating lunch outside in the courtyard on beautiful sunny days always make me envious of their clever immune systems.
For those like me who can’t enjoy the great outdoors as much as others, I created a list of tips and tricks we can do to keep our bodies feeling healthy and happy. As a seasonal allergy-sufferer who experiences allergies in the spring and fall, I use these tricks almost year-round.
My first allergy tip is a little obvious: find the right allergy medicine. Over the course of my allergy journey, I’ve had many trials and errors. I first started out with taking Claritin, an antihistamine that comes in a small little white pill. This helped my symptoms slightly, but I still had to limit my time outside and keep the windows closed in the house.
My next step on my allergy journey was learning about the powers of honey through my grandmother. According to her, eating a spoonful of honey everyday helps with seasonal allergy symptoms. I tried this method in combination with Claritin for years, fully believing in the honey’s magical effects. It wasn’t until the taste of honey began to make me gag that I stopped taking it.
Although I fully believed in this sweet trick, it was more than likely just a placebo. While it has been anecdotally reported to lessen seasonal allergy symptoms, these results have not been able to be consistently duplicated in clinical studies, according to Mayo Clinic.
When Claritin wasn’t enough to battle my symptoms, I decided to try Claritin-D, a decongestant that treats nasal congestion and sinus pressure. How lovely. To my amazement, this worked like a charm for a year or two. I was finally able to go outside and breath the fresh spring air. That was until it started giving me persistent headaches and I had to stop taking it. Another failure.
The next step on my allergy-medicine journey was Flonase, a nasal-spray corticosteroid. This has worked out alright for the past few years, but I’m still unable to spend long amounts of time outside or with windows open. Better than nothing I suppose.
There are many other options for relieving allergies than the ones I’ve mentioned. There are pills, liquids, nasal-sprays, eye drops, at-home remedies, inhalers, skin creams, and even shots that could all help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It’s important to find the right solution for you and your body.
My next tip is to plan activities to do indoors with friends and family. While my parents desperately wanted to soak up the sun that’s been hiding away for months, I made them close all the windows in the house and watch movies with me all day long. They loved it.
When my friends decided they wanted to eat outside for a picnic in the Arb, I suggested eating inside the same dining hall we’ve been sitting in for months. They wondered why they didn’t think of it first.
My last tip is to stare out your closed window at the brilliant blue sky and luscious green grass that would give you hives the moment you decided to lay in it. I like to imagine myself out there breathing in the fresh pollen-filled air without having to sneeze my way back to safety. It’s a nice thought, but it’s a bit of a bummer when reality sets in.
While having seasonal allergies can be disappointing, the end of winter is always something to celebrate. Whether you have to suffer through runny noses and mountains of tissues or not, spring will always be welcomed with open arms.