Something is in the Air!

Allergies Wreak Havoc

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Something is in the Air!

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alexis Owens, Editor in Chief

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Common allergies are a constant battle. The continuous eye-watering, sniffles and irritating rashes have caused some to consult an allergist hoping to find an end to the seasonal backlash. Allergies affect nearly a third of all Americans.

Dr. Andrew Dang of Premier Allergy.

“Allergies are an abnormal over-reaction of the immune system to normally tolerated substances, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander,” said Dr. Andrew Dang, of Premier Allergy in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Anyone at any age can develop an allergy. Dang said that tree pollen peaks in the Spring, grass pollen in the Summer, and ragweed in the Fall. Patients can be allergic to any or all of these pollens which can cause seasonal variation in symptoms. Pet dander and dust mite allergies are year-round and typically worse in the winter when we spend more times indoors.

Lancaster High School student senior Kristen Lawson and junior Kaylee Montgomery are no strangers to the common irritation. Both, who regularly see an allergist, are fed up with the vigorous annoyance.

“I am allergic to cats and then certain types of trees, but I would say that cats are my worst,” said Lawson.

Her earliest recognition of having allergies was traced to her friend’s pet cat which caused Lawson to suffer horrible symptoms and feeling a “total mess.” Montgomery, however, has reactions to pollen, plants, dust and dust mites. She has had allergies her entire life. Montgomery says “hives have been my worst reaction.”

“Most days it doesn’t bother me, but on a day where pollen levels are high, I can break out in hives and have cold symptoms,” she said.

To treat her irritations she takes Zyrtec and she also gets allergy shots biweekly. She uses an Avi-Q which Lawson says is “basically an eppy pen.”

LHS teacher, Chris Falvo, who has also been seeing an allergist for two years, has suffered from allergies her entire life.

“But it has gotten worse as I became an adult,” she said.

Allergies can change over time, either developing new allergies or outgrowing existing allergies.

Dr. Dang told Eye of the Gale that it’s a mystery as to how and when a person may acquire an allergy or outgrow one.

A patient experiences allergic reactions to certain allergens. Photo courtesy of Premier Allergy.

“We do not know what causes a person to grow out of or into allergies,” he said.  To avoid triggering allergy symptoms, Dr. Yang suggests taking precautions.

“Avoid taking  measures such as monitoring pollen counts, using air purifiers and allergy covers on mattresses, as well as taking medications like fluticasone nasal spray and oral antihistamines like Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Xyzal.”