I pretty vividly remember the first time I had serious allergies, in grade six. I was wheezing, sneezing and my eyes itched like crazy. My dad told me, "That's hay fever," and I asked when I would be over it, equating it to a regular fever. "Never," he said.
Obviously I learned more about allergies and the cause, and I remember my doctor indicating that a cold wet towel was ideal for helping with the itchy eyes (probably in part because it kept you from touching them). It became a ritual mostly contained to a couple of weeks in the spring, and if it was warm enough, I could keep it under control just by turning up the air conditioning. When I moved to Seattle, I had almost no allergies at all. Diana, who has far more severe allergies, even had some relief. I had a day here and there, but mostly, I knew life without allergies.
Florida moved the problem earlier in the year, as it seems to be certain kinds of tree pollen, and it comes early. Most year, again, it's fairly mild and I can roll with it. This year, it's really bad. Our car was coated in a film of pollen, which wouldn't be so odd if we didn't park it in the garage. The pollen levels have been high for almost a month straight, with the only reprieve being the five days we spent in a VRBO in Melbourne, on the coast. Medications usually work to an extent, but they haven't been that effective this time. Worse, even those that aren't supposed to make you drowsy make me drowsy. So I have to choose between having a head full of snot and sinus headaches to being in a fog. I usually defer to late afternoon, so after work I just sit around like a slug. The mind and spirit are willing to make things and engage with the world, but the body says, nah, I'll pass.
There has been a surprising side effect though. There's an increasing body of research that suggests that histamines are a producer and result of irritable bowel syndrome, likely tied to some kinds of foods, and taking an anti-histamine can actually ease the symptoms. I've had IBS for most of my adult life, but managing stress and diet has generally allowed me to control it. I know from experience that fried food is likely one of the big contributors, for whatever reason, but I've long theorized that spicy food is also a big driver. Regardless, because of the allergies, I've been consistently taking anti-histamines, and I've been symptom free for a month. It could be coincidence, but maybe it's not.
Hopefully we turn a corner on the pollen soon. Only three months until swamp-ass season!
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