North Texas Daily

Allergy season brings watery eyes and runny noses

Allergy season brings watery eyes and runny noses

Allergy season brings watery eyes and runny noses
April 20
23:23 2015

Matthew Payne / Staff Writer

It’s roughly 20 minutes before your dreaded 8 a.m. class. You can hardly breathe and are crippled by a headache. The feeling of unshaken weariness offers no relief, and a buzzing sensation of throbbing pressure is clamped upon your temples.

It’s that time of year, Mean Green, when birds, bees and lurid lime pollen gingerly float through the city. Spring is in the air, and allergy season is in full throttle.

According to, the overall pollen count in Dallas from April 1 to 20 was 13,895 in 2014. This year, as of today, that count is at 25,507.

This is exactly the kind of woe environmental studies junior John Papaioannou, like so many others, has been bothered by.

“Some days I’ve been waking up lethargic and outright bogged down with mucus and other disgusting garbage,” Papaioannou said.21_allergies_web2

Dr. John Shelton has worked with the UNT Student Health and Wellness center since 2009, and started his medical career in 1979.

Originally from Callisburg, Texas, Papaioannou said the ecosystem of Denton is unlike anything he has experienced before. The climate, humidity and general environment is considerably more lush and full of blossoming plants, he said. Although beautiful, it negatively affects his allergies. He said he has been through the pollinated wringer this season.

“Cottonwood is my big allergy trigger,” Papaioannou said. “There are a lot more grasses and flat land back home, but due to all the cottonwood pollen free floating through Denton, I have more severe allergies here.”

The dominant presence of ragweed and the different tree types Denton hosts have a strong play in the ecosystems’ contrast, he said.

It’s no surprise other students have been plagued with a similar congestion and sinus pressure characteristic of this time of year.

It takes just a casual stroll through campus to see and hear the watery eyes and heavy coughs of students and staff.

“We’ve been averaging three to four patients exhibiting allergy symptoms daily this spring,” Student Health and Wellness Center receptionist Breanna Peel said. “The influx of studentshas been noticeable, and we consistently stay busy scheduling appointments.”

Peel said the physicians consistently have a schedule rife with students seeking treatment for their symptoms, which can range anywhere from mild, everyday allergies that can be treated with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin or Cortisone to more heavy duty issues like rashes or general discomfort.

“Most of the time, allergies can simply be mitigated through medicine you can buy at most drug stores,” said Dr. John Shelton, a physician at the Health and Wellness Center since 2009.

With the rise of allergy-related problems this season, Shelton said there have been exceptions to the commons cases of allergies he’s seen. Those who have to deal with asthma, he said, have been particularly prone to debilitating symptoms this year.

“This allergy season has been substantially worse than those over the past five years. I suspect it’s because of the high amounts of rain making everything greener and more potent,” Shelton said. “Some people have a serious problem dealing with allergens. It’s to the point where we’ll have to prescribe high-powered prescriptions to provide relief.”

Despite being extremely busy with the high volume of students visiting the center, Shelton said students can register for a check-up or specific examination and the center will designate a specific time-slot for an appointment.

The Health and Wellness Center is located in Chestnut Hall and appointments can be made online at or by phone at (940) 565-2333.

Featured Image: Pansies adorn the soil in front of the University of North Texas sign outside of Bruce Hall. Photos by Matthew Payne – Staff Writer

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