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I read a wonderful article in today’s USA Today in the Life section. The topic was how college students with allergies and asthma can prepare for life back at college. I see many college-age students who are heading back to colleges all over the country and I have a few of my own recommendations on how to be prepared:

Be aware of the climate you are heading back to school. Regardless of the temperature, the ragweed pollen counts will climb higher through the end of August until about mid-September. If you know you are allergic to ragweed, be prepared.

It’s important to have your medications available, such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops, and asthma inhalers. The ragweed season is typically a short one, but you don’t want to be suffering your first few weeks at school.

If you’re heading southeast, be prepared for high humidity which is usually accompanied by high mold counts. Colleges in the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama can be particularly tough. Again, the same medications used for ragweed allergy can be used for mold allergy.

The other culprit to be aware of in the hot, humid early fall weather are dust mites. Dust mites multiply the most in the fall, so it’s important to do everything possible to decrease exposures. It is helpful to obtain allergy-free covers for your mattress and pillows—90% of your exposure occurs in the bed and bedroom. If you have access to air-conditioning, it would help cool the temperature and reduce humidity.

Check the pollen count— it can be an excellent guide to know when you need your medicines.

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island