College dorms and apartments can be filled with airborne particulates and odors that can send your allergies into overdrive. Here are 5 ways to successfully manage your allergies and keep symptoms to a minimum.
Live Alone—Granted, this is easier said than done possibly because of financial reasons on your end and the way many colleges assign rooms. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And since this is a request that will effect your health, nothing beats a failure but a try. And who knows, the answer may very well be yes. You will have the most control over who and what comes into your space if you’re the only one in it.
If you wind up with a roommate after all, ask for their help, and let them know what things will trigger you symptoms. Unless you get someone who is really seriously not nice, most people are likely to refrain from using products that knowingly cause you problems.
Stay Prepared—Always carry a fast-acting medication that can temporarily stop symptoms from escalating. Many local pharmacies have done us a great service by employing pharmacists that are knowledgeable and more than willing to suggest medications off the shelf that can really improve your day-to-day quality of life.
Be sure to check to see if drowsiness is a side effect. And if it is, choose the times that you take it very carefully, as in not right before class, or a performance, or when you intend to drive.
Figure out which medication works best for you. Then keep extras in your car, overnight bag, purse, back pack and cosmetic case. Make it easy to get to at the first sign of symptoms that could get out of hand.
Stay Tuned In To Weather Conditions—If your allergies are triggered by pollen and other outdoor pollutants, staying up to date about the level of irritants in the air is crucial.
There are websites that gives the pollen count by zip code, and local news and radio will also have information about the air quality to expect for the day.
Staying inside to avoid the trigger on days when the allergens are off the chart may seem punitive at first. But when comparing it to the alternative of possibly suffering symptoms that can range from irritating to debilitating, avoidance looks pretty good.
Limit Air Exchange—Opening the windows to let some fresh air in can be quite a misconception. Exchange of outdoor air with indoor air is just that—an exchange, and not necessarily a healthy improvement. Often it simply means exchanging air with one set of pollutants for a different set.
Leave windows closed in the dorm, and keep the vents and windows rolled up in the car, particularly during peak seasons for you.
Filter The Air—Use a portable air cleaner that contains a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting filter. This is the most efficient at removing the particles that often trigger allergies.
This filter can remove 99,997 out of every 10,000 airborne particles that are.3 microns or larger. Some of these particles include dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria, and viruses.
24 hours filtration is so important in this situation so don’t settle for a unit that cannot provide this. Also look for little to zero maintenance requirements. Avoid those that produce any amount of ozone or ionized particles and studies differ about how safe and effective they really are.