Millions of people all over the US are currently dealing with allergies, with 22% of college students having asthma, sinusitis, or a food allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Moreover, some students appear to be risking their health, as only 3.5% have informed campus dining services about their allergies. Living with sensitivities to allergens can be inconvenient, but managing your allergies is the key to staying healthy while living on campus. Here’s a guide to help you cope with your allergies in college.
Create a healthy dorm environment
If you know what triggers your allergies, then you likely know well enough to stay away from them. But if certain allergens can be found in your dorm room, it’s a good idea to get help in creating a healthy dorm environment. For instance, if your asthma or allergy gets triggered by the presence of pests such as cockroaches or rodents, you may want to inform dorm services to call a professional about dealing with the infestation.
The same goes if you’re allergic to mold—have your school call an expert to get rid of the problem, as doing it yourself may cause your allergies to flare up. Once your dorm room is free of pests or mold, maintain its cleanliness by sweeping the floors and keeping your room well ventilated regularly. You may also consider using a HEPA filter to improve your indoor air, which is especially useful for those with pollen, dust, or perfume allergies.
Let your roommates know about your allergies
Some people may not want to disclose their health issues to others, but if you have allergies, it’s crucial to inform the people you live with about your health condition. Doing so enables them to be prepared in case you have an allergic reaction, and it may even save your life. Provide them with numbers to call in case of an emergency, and let them know where you keep your medication or EpiPen so they can act fast if you have an allergic reaction on campus. It also helps to have a written plan of action that details what your roommate should do in case something triggers your allergies. Consider even informing an authority figure like an RA about your allergies as an extra precaution, especially if your symptoms can be quite serious.
Students often neglect their health due to busy schedules, but those with allergies should live a healthy lifestyle and be vigilant in order to manage their symptoms. Apart from regular handwashing, proper disinfection of surfaces should also be done regularly to prevent the spread of allergens. If you have food allergies, remember to wipe your tray clean with a disinfectant wipe before putting any food items on it to prevent cross-contamination. Be sure to avoid smoking and areas where people smoke or vape, as it may exacerbate asthma or trigger allergies. And remember to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and make time for exercise to boost your immune system, as doing so can help you control your allergy symptoms.
Dealing with allergies can be quite stressful when you’re on campus, but by being open with your roommates, keeping a clean environment, and staying vigilant, you can manage your symptoms and prevent allergic reactions. Try these tips to stay healthy and to prevent allergies from affecting your college life.
For more advice on living your best life on campus, check out our Student Life section!