UA students flock to clinics and pharmacies due to allergy seasonBy Kourtney Jakubowski | 03/24/2016 9:28am
The University of Alabama campus is full of trees, creating a large environment for allergies. CW | Layton Dudley
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.
“Symptoms include nasal congestion, where your nose is blocked up, itchy eyes, feeling like sand is in your eyes, and your eyes could be watery or teary,” said Dr. Thomas Weida, the chief medical officer for University Medical Center and associate dean for clinical affairs for the College of Community Health Sciences.
The University of Alabama campus is a ripe environment for allergies with hundreds of trees through the quad and pretty much the rest of campus.
“Any area that has heavy [trees] or heavy farming is going to have a lot of pollen,” Weida said. “It is the pollen that is going to be causing the problem.”
Students have felt the spring season come on strong.
“Ever since I got back to Tuscaloosa, I have been having to take Allegra every day,” said Brooke Loescher, a sophomore majoring in finance.
Allergy flare-ups increase around spring break. Many students experience different climates when they travel home or to other popular destinations like south Alabama or Florida.
“The beach can have less allergies because you are getting a lot of wind coming off the water,” Weida said. “No trees are growing out there, so you’re clearing out some of the pollen.”
Upon return to campus, the impact of pollen can often be exacerbated.
“The week after spring break, the atmosphere is different and there is all this pollen,” said Rite-Aid pharmacy technician Brittney Rhodes.
Weida suggested showering to alleviate symptoms.
“For a preventive strategy, if you’re affected by allergies, taking a shower before bedtime and washing the pollen off of you and your hair and your skin could be helpful,” Weida said.
Mayo Clinic lists four different types of effective medications for allergies: corticosteroids, antihistamines, decongestants and mast cell stabilizers. Rhodes recommended Zyrtec and Claritin specifically, both of which are antihistamines.
UA students can buy allergy medicines at either the on-campus Student Health Center or local pharmacies like the Rite-Aid on University.
Spring allergies do not last forever, said Weida. They should be gone by the end of May.
“A lot of time, if it is seasonal allergies, once the trees stop blooming, you’re going to get better,” Weida said.
For more information or medical attention, visit the Student Health Center or call the pharmacy at (. Weida also recommended visiting for more information on allergies or other sicknesses.