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Wave of allergies attacks campus

Sept. 18, 1996

By Michael Giles

Lariat Reporter

Tissues are getting a workout across campus as many Baylor students are suffering from a recent dramatic increase in the pollen count.

Symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, sore throats and nasal drainage have attacked residents of both the University and Waco.

The recent heavy rains Waco has received have given allergens such as ragweed and mold a better opportunity to grow and thrive.

Louise Saunders, director of nurses at the Health Center, said that ragweed normally begins to increase in abundance this time of year, but the increased moisture has speeded up the process.

Saunders said many people in Central Texas suffer from allergies because the temperature is so moderate and the seasons last quite awhile. This gives the allergens plenty of opportunity to grow and spread over a larger area.

A number of medications are currently available over-the-counter to combat allergic reactions. Saunders said it is mainly a trial-and-error process to find the one that works best for an individual.

However, if any student is suffering from these or any other allergies, the Health Center recommends stopping by for a visit with a doctor.

After an examination, the doctor would be able to tell exactly where the responsibility lies for the allergic reaction and prescribe a course of action, whether it be medication or good old-fashioned rest.

Allergies differ from colds in that a virus does not cause the reaction.

Also, the cold season does not usually begin until later in the year and the symptoms are usually worse with a cold. This, however, depends on the severity of the allergic reaction.

If the condition persists, then the Health Center suggests that the individual see an allergist to see what further measures can be taken.

Allergies tend to tire students out and make it extremely difficult to keep up in classes, allergy sufferers say.

'Physically, I just don't have the stamina,' said Rob Saxon, a Dallas junior. 'My brain power is sapped, and I'm mentally fatigued so I can't stay up as late to study.'

Every morning the Waco Tribune-Herald prints out the pollen count for the day. Television and radio stations also give out this information. On a day when the pollen count is high, many would prefer to just stay inside, but that is seldom possible.

'We can't live our lives inside,' Saunders said.

Doctors are at the Health Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the building is open 24 hours a day for emergencies and other needs.

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