The sniffle is real: handling spring allergies

Alana George, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

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Oak and pine trees on campus are the main source of pollen in the area right now, according to the current allergy report for Rome on the Weather Channel. They are both wind-pollinated, which means that their grains, rather than being transported by bees or bats, are transported by the wind. Therefore, the trees produce a lot of pollen in the hopes that some of the grains will land on a different tree. Photo by Ethan Barker|Campus Carrier

If your classes have turned into choruses of sniffles and sneezes, you are not alone: spring allergy season is officially upon us. Cars are turning green, tissues are being used more rapidly, and many feel a constant itch in their nose and eyes. On this very nature-rich campus, it is very hard for students to avoid the things that make them sneeze, but there are ways to alleviate symptoms and sniffle no more.

According to Cathy Borer, an associate professor in Berry’s biology department, the main sources of pollen right now are the trees. She has the data to back up her statement. According to the current allergy report for Rome on the Weather Channel, tree pollen is categorized as very high, the highest category they have for pollen levels.

“Some of the most vigorous pollens that are out right now are from wind-pollinated trees,” Borer said. “If you’re a plant trying to get your pollen from yourself to some other flower, if you’re relying on the wind, you need to produce a ton of pollen in order for at least some of those little pollen grains to get to flowers on a different tree.”

Borer said that many of the pine and oak trees that are producing pollen right now don’t make bright, colorful flowers because they don’t need to attract pollinators such as bats and bees. But both trees produce some kind of flower. The oak trees produce small flowers that look like tassels and contain their pollen. The pine trees have male and female cones, the male ones being the ones releasing pollen right now.

Borer explained an allergy as an overreaction by your immune system to a foreign body, like a pollen grain. She could see many of the pollen-producing trees outside her office window in McAllister, so it is fairly difficult for students to avoid the things making them sneeze, especially since the majority of the pollen is being carried by the wind. But there are preventative measures we can take to keep our itchy noses and eyes to a minimum.

Emma Cordle, the nurse practitioner and director of the Health & Wellness Center, has seen many allergy symptoms in students over the past week, including sneezing, watery or swelling eyes, and running noses. She has her favorite over-the-counter allergy medicines that she recommends for students.

“I’m a huge fan of antihistamines; Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra are my favorites because they don’t cause drowsiness,” Cordle says. “Lots of times what I recommend is maybe a Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec during the day and some Benadryl at night for some really bad allergies.”

Cordle also likes some of the over-the-counter nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasonex, which are topical steroids that calm the irritation in the nasal cavities allergies can cause.

In cases of severe symptoms, Cordle recommended different steps students can take.

“If you have such severe allergies that it’s just really getting to you and staying on the antihistamines is not helping, then I would recommend allergy testing,” Cordle said.

If you are noticing allergy symptoms, don’t suffer in silence because “it’s just allergies.” the Health and Wellness Center is open for appointments and they have medicine that can help calm comm

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