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Tip of the Week: It could be allergies…

You've been back from Spring Break a few weeks, and you're already sick? Congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy throat, sneezing and dry cough…sound familiar? Before you call home to complain about your biggest "cold or flu" of the school year, consider this: it could be seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known to sufferers as "allergies" or "hay fever." In the spring, pollinating trees are the cause of hay fever. Your body's immune system sends a signal that you are breathing in an invader and your body releases histamine into the bloodstream. This chemical causes inflammation of the sinuses, nose and mucous membranes of the eyes. It also triggers sneezing and a running nose. So it's only allergies…no big deal, right? Wrong. In addition to physical discomfort, typical allergy symptoms can cause emotional and psychological problems that interfere with school, work and sleep, and lower overall quality of living. If that's not enough to convince you, it has also been clinically proven that allergy sufferers are at increased risk for other conditions and illnesses, such as asthma, sleep apnea, sinusitis and ear infections. So if any of these allergy symptoms sound familiar, but you're just not sure, make an appointment with Health Services. We will evaluate your symptoms, perform a physical exam and make recommendations for treatment. There are several excellent medications on the market, which dramatically decrease allergy symptoms and lessen the risk for long-term problems. Many of our students who have been tested for allergies at home get their allergy injections at Health Services. Don't let a treatable problem like allergies ruin your quality of life and your outdoor fun in the warmer temperatures. It's early spring in upstate New York. The air will soon be full of pollen. Pull the plug on allergies, before they run your life.Question: I have had constant stomach pain for nearly three days. I have ruled out hunger pains, because I have eaten and still have pain. I have ruled out gas and constipation because I have been able to use the bathroom regularly and easily. I have ruled out muscle soreness too because I have not exercised intensely for days. The pain is constantly a dull ache, but comes in waves of sharp pains. Is this serious and should I see the doctor about it?

Answer: It is not possible to give you a diagnosis or a prognosis without an examination. Please call Health Services at ext. 5736 for an appointment to be seen by a clinician.

Question: Could you please list all the types of STD/STI testing that you do, and tell me which ones would show up the soonest after having sex?

Health Services performs lab tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea in patients with symptoms and for screening. Viral cultures for genital herpes may also be performed on patients with suspicious lesions. Genital warts are diagnosed by physical exam, not by a screening test and HPV infection can be diagnosed in women with abnormal PAP smears using special testing techniques. Chlamydia and gonorrhea may cause symptoms one to three weeks after exposure in men. Women may be infected but have no symptoms which makes it crucial for them to be screened regularly (at least annually for sexually active women under the age of 25).

(This column is courtesy of the Lauderdale Center. YAWA is an anonymous Q & A Service on the Health & Counseling Web site. If you have a question for YAWA, log onto