Students combat variety of allergies


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graphic by racheljohnson & makenziefuss

It’s that time of year again. Sniffling students roam the hallways with Kleenex in hand. Cough drops are valued nearly as much as gum, and in a strange turn of events, students are a bit more stingy about sharing food. It’s the famous season of, “Am I sick, or do I have allergies?”

Sophomore Cassie Palmer is not only lactose sensitive, but she is also allergic to cats, penicillin, ragweed, and all sorts of trees and plants.

At a friend’s house, Palmer discovered that her allergy list was more extensive than she thought. “I woke up in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t breathe,” Palmer said. It turns out the perpetrators were a friend’s grandma’s cats. When allergies hit, Palmer’s chest tightens and breathing becomes difficult due to her asthma.

“I went to a swim meet the next day, and I couldn’t see. I tried to put my goggles on, but my eyes were too swollen,” Palmer said. She now receives a weekly allergy injection. Palmer’s allergy onset didn’t hit until she was 8. Palmer’s worsening allergies were an adjustment at first, but now her weekly check-ups and constant caution to avoid allergic reactions are simply a normal part of life.

Freshman Abigail Winkelbauer believes allergies are no laughing matter. She suffers from asthma, as well as an allergy to warm-blooded animals.

“The first thing people ask me when I tell them about my allergy is, ‘So that means you’re allergic to humans too, right?’ At first I think it’s funny, but after a while it gets old,” Winkelbauer said.

Winklebauer’s allergy is caused by her asthma, and her scariest allergic reaction took place when she was in fourth or fifth grade sleeping over at a friend’s house.

Winkelbauer had assumed that her inhaler wouldn’t be necessary, because she was with a friend. That same night, Winkelbauer discovered her allergy to warm-blooded animals when she began to show allergic reaction symptoms around her friend’s dogs. Winkelbauer’s friend’s brother, who also suffers from asthma, had an inhaler on the spot. Winkelbauer feels lucky to have gotten out of the situation.

“I want people to know that, if you have friends with allergies or know anyone with allergies, to take it seriously and not make jokes about it,” Winkelbauer said.

Whoever said lessons have to be learned the hard way wasn’t joking around. Allergies are certainly some- thing to take seriously, and these girls have demonstrated this through their experiences.

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