Allergies are caused by allergens in the air which trigger the immune system to produce an allergic response. Once your immune system is sensitized, your body recognizes the allergen as a foreign invader and releases a substance called IgE. The IgE antibodies trigger the release of histamines, which cause the symptoms.
Typical indoor allergens include pets, dust mites, plants, mold, building materials, dyes, perfumes and smoke. Typical outdoor allergies include tree pollen, grasses or weeds.
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Post nasal drip
Identify which allergens cause your symptoms and avoid exposure to allergens.
Here are some tips:
- Keep your room/apartment clean and free from dust and mold.
- Limit rugs and carpet on floors and vacuum regularly.
- Keep the humidity in your home between 30-50 percent to control the growth of dust mites and mold.
- Use allergy-proof bed covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows.
- Wash bed sheets in hot water every seven to 10 days to kill dust mites.
- During allergy season, keep doors and windows closed and use air conditioning as needed.
- Avoid mowing lawn or raking leaves.
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days.
- Avoid contact with animals (if allergic to animal dander).
Exercise helps maintain a healthy body and mind. Make exercise a priority for at least 30 minutes five to seven days a week. Choose a variety of exercise activities that include aerobic activity to strengthen your heart, anaerobic activity to build and maintain muscle, and stretching exercises to maintain flexibility.
Pink eye is an inflammation or infection of the membrane lining your eye. It can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or by allergies.
- Gritty or itchy sensation in the eye
- Watery or yellow/white discharge
- Crusted, matted eyelids on awakening
- Redness of the eye
- Swollen eyelid
- If viral or bacterial, it is contagious. To avoid spreading pink eye you must use good hand-washing and avoid touching your eye.
- If the discharge is yellow and causes crusting and matting of the eyelids, it could be bacterial. See a healthcare provider for treatment.
- If you have cold symptoms, it is likely a viral infection and will resolve on its own.
- If you have other allergy symptoms, it could be caused by allergies. Try over the counter eye drops, if symptoms don’t resolve, see a healthcare provider.
Fatigue may result from lack of sleep or from medical illness. It is more than simple tiredness. People suffering from fatigue feel as if they have no energy and have a hard time completing daily tasks.
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Stress or depression
- Poor diet
- Viral illnesses such as colds, flu or mononucleosis
- Anemia (low iron in the blood)
- Alcohol or drug use
- Thyroid disorders
- Heart disease
- Any other chronic illness
If you suffer from chronic fatigue see a healthcare provider to identify the cause. If you are fatigued as part of a chronic disorder, these suggestions may be helpful:
- Limit the number of credits you are taking.
- Carefully consider your energy level before taking on employment.
- Don’t overload on extracurricular activities.
- Use a planner to stay organized.
- Eat healthy and don’t skip breakfast. Make sure to include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Exercise daily.
- Develop good sleep habits.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
Normal body temperature is about 98.6 degrees. When your body temperature is 100 degrees or higher, you have a fever. Body temperature is lowest in the morning and highest in the evening. Keep a thermometer in your room or apartment to monitor your temperature.
Fever is generally caused by a viral or bacterial illness. Fever will help fight infection by increasing blood flow.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take a tepid bath.
- Rest, avoid exercise.
- Don’t put on layers of clothing or blankets.
- If your fever is less than 101 degrees, you do not need to treat it.
- If your fever is over 101 degrees, and you are uncomfortable, take Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
- If you have other symptoms with your fever and it lasts for three or more days, see your healthcare provider.
A migraine headache occurs when blood vessels open too wide or close too tight. Migraine headaches can be triggered in some people by caffeine, alcohol, certain foods, stress, strenuous exercise, poor sleep habits and menstruation in females.
- Eyes are very light-sensitive
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Noise worsens the headache
- Activity worsens the headache
- Spots or flashing lights; numbness occurs 30 minutes before migraine
- Stop the activity you're doing and take your medication as instructed by your healthcare provider.
- Rest in a quiet, dark room.
- Place a cold pack or cloth on the affected area.
- Know the activities, foods, drink, etc. that trigger your migraines.
A tension headache is the most common type of headache. The causes are tight or tense muscles of the neck, face and scalp. Lack of sleep, stress, eyestrain and repetitive work can produce tension headaches. The pain is mild to moderate over your head and may also cause pain in the back of the neck and base of the skull.
- Pain in the neck and shoulders that radiates to your head
- Mild to moderate ache in the forehead, area above the ears and back of the head
- Take over-the-counter medicine (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.).
- Massage back of neck, shoulders, side of your eyes, etc.
- Rest in a dark, quiet room that is cool.
- Place a cold or warm washcloth on the area that aches.
- Take a warm bath or shower.
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be boring. Having the ability to change up your diet can be easy if you know the right choices to make whether you’re cooking for yourself or eating in a restaurant.
Once you know the right selections to make, you’re on your way towards lifelong health. You need to eat a wide variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and beans. You also need to limit your portion sizes and the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Trans-fats should be eliminated.
Hepatitis B is a serious infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. It spreads when the blood or other body fluids of a person infected with the virus are absorbed into an individual's blood stream through broken skin or mucous membranes.
There is a vaccine to prevent you from getting the illness. Click here for information on the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord caused by several types of bacteria. One of the most serious types of meningitis is Meningococcal. This type of meningitis is transmitted through respiratory secretions (e.g., coughing and sneezing) and direct contact with persons infected with the disease. These bacteria may also cause meningococcemia, a serious infection of the blood.
There is a vaccine to prevent you from getting the illness. Click here for more information on the meningitis vaccine.
Infectious mononucleosis is an acute viral disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is spread person-to-person through contact of the infected person’s saliva. Mono is usually spread by sharing eating utensils, hand-to-hand contact and kissing. Symptoms usually appear four to six weeks after initial contact.
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck
- Sore throat
- Pain in the upper left part of the abdomen
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
- For sore throat, gargle with salt water. Mix ½ teaspoon with warm water several times daily.
College students often overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. Insufficient sleep can lead to poor academic performance and physical and mental health problems.
General Health Resources
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