Updated 01 June 2017

15 tips for students with allergies

For university students, moving out of home can be daunting at the best of times but for those with severe allergies or asthma, it may feel close to impossible.

"For most teens, going away to college marks their first time living independently," says allergist David Stukus, MD, from the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

"In addition to moving to a new place, many must learn to manage their own schedule, diet, exercise and health. Young people may find their allergies and asthma neglected due to other, seemingly more important demands on their attention."

Despite the risks, your condition doesn’t have to completely disrupt your dreams for the future. Putting a proper allergy or asthma plan in place is a good place to start.

Dr. Stukus suggests 15 ways you can manage your allergies at university:

- Review your asthma and/or anaphylaxis emergency plan and make sure it's up to date. 

- Be sure that you have a referral to a local allergist near your university

- Supply your new allergist with copies of your medical records, including test results and prescriptions. 

- Keep a list of all your current medications and dosages on you (ie: in your wallet).

- Ensure your prescriptions are sent to a new pharmacy in your area 

- Ensure all your vaccinations are up to date

- Familiarise yourself with hospitals in your area and keep the contact details for emergency services on you at all times.

- Provide your university, resident assistant and roommates with a list of current allergens you need to avoid.

- Tour the kitchen and meet with the chef to discuss safe food preparation.

- Consider getting a Medic-Alert bracelet or necklace to help others understand your allergic triggers.

- Look into new apps and technology that can help you manage allergies and asthma.

- Check the expiration date on your epinephrine auto injector and/or rescue inhaler and keep them with you at all times.

- Find out if your residence hall is near a major road as pollutants might affect your asthma.

- Ask if you'll have direct access to replaceable filtration if your dorm room has forced air heat.

- Inquire if your dorm room has air conditioning. Open dorm windows expose you to more pollen.

Read more:

What are allergies?

Risk factors for allergies 

Preventing allergic reactions


American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 03 May 2016.


Ask the Expert

Allergy expert

Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules