Cross-posted at Moms Clean Air Force

Spring is here! I know this not because I heard peepers over the weekend, or because a single daffodil is blooming in my backyard, or because the birds are singing.  To me, spring starts when a light brush of my finger across my eyelid quickly escalates to wanting to scratch my eyeballs out.  My eyes get very itchy, goopy, puffy, and irritated (think perma-pink eye).  My throat is sore, and my nose runs for months at a time.  In some instances I lose my voice or develop a pounding headache.  I take wads of tissue to bed with me so I can blow my nose throughout the night.  Yes, I have seasonal allergies.

I’ve never been tested for allergies, and I feel that my allergies are not severe enough for me to seek medical help.  But I’ve realized over my lifetime that I am allergic to the following:

  • pollen and overly fragrant plants like gardenias
  • dust
  • mold
  • smoke, especially cigarette smoke
  • artificial fragrances

Since I’ve diagnosed myself, I also treat myself.  I did once get eye drops, years ago, but I’ve found that no medicine works as well as simply not touching my eyes in the first place.  The best thing I can do is avoid the allergens, so I try not to stir up the dust in my house by cleaning too often, I try not to let dish towels sit and develop a musty smell, I distance myself from smelly flowers, and I try to stay away from overly-perfumed people and smoke.  Any combination of these allergens seems to increase my irritation exponentially, so I especially try to avoid the easy ones, like fragrances in my own home or cigarette smoke.  (Fortunately for me, few public places in Connecticut allow smoking anymore.)

I’ve made an effort to keep my son away from these potential allergens, too, since I’m not yet sure if he’s inherited my allergies.  Studies have linked both indoor and outdoor air pollution to infant deaths from respiratory complications and SIDS.  Exposure to cigarette smoke  is a major risk factor for SIDS, as babies are 3.5 times more likely to die of SIDS if both parents smoke than if neither parent smokes.

Unfortunately, there are some things that I can’t control.  People who have allergies or asthma are especially vulnerable to atmospheric pollution, so it’s just another reason for me to fight for clean air. 

Do you have allergies or asthma? How do you cope with them?



Filed under Sustainable Living

9 responses to “Ah-CHOO!

  1. Luckily mine are really minor — I probably have some seasonal allergies, as I feel like I almost always have a wee bit of a runny nose, so I keep hankies on me at all times.

    I’m slightly allergic to cats, but it’s like you and your eyes: if when my eyes start itching, I don’t absent-mindedly rub them, I’ll be fine. Otherwise I take a benadryl. (I also find that my allergies are worse when I’m sick — I’ll sneeze and sneeze and sneeze when petting a cat!)

    I had asthma as a kid, so I try to avoid causing too much dust by making sure that my house is well aired out and letting the wind and sun do some of my cleaning/disinfecting.

    You might find that an infused vinegar/water spray spritzed around your house will keep it feeling fresh and clean and help destroy any nasty, allergen-causing scents while leaving a fresh clear scent. I personally am a fan of lemon, but I could also see peppermint or eucalyptus being equally good. A couple drops of essential oil added to the 50/50 vinegar/water mix. I also am a lazy housekeeper, so as long as my house doesn’t SMELL like a herd of critters lives there, I’m happy. If I can smell my house, there’s a problem!

  2. As I was reading this post, I was sneezing like a crazy person! I am a dust/cats/lillies (Sadness!)/coconut allergy person. Generally speaking, I don’t do anything about them other than the occasional homeopathic treatment when I just can’t deal any more. I will tell you though that I had surgery on my sinuses a few years ago and for the the first year following that procedure, I had NO allergies!!! It was amazing!

    Oh. And I don’t attend church services close to Easter. 🙂 Nothing like being the weirdo in the back sneezing your brain out during a cantata!

  3. Um, have you tried either Saline Nasal Mist (off the shelf, any grocery or pharmacy), or a neti pot? They use salt and water to wash the allergens and other crud off the sinus cavities, allowing the body to recover.

    My family doctor in Phoenix told me that “twice in each side, once and hour, and blow” would clear up to a sinus infection without antibiotics, and helps with nosebleeds and with allergies.

    BTW – the scratchy throat is drainage from the sinuses. Clean the crud off, and there will be less stuff festering away and draining into the throat.

    Since all you are doing is rinsing the affected areas with salt water, neither Saline Nasal Mist nor the neti pot will interact or affect any other treatment or remedy. The big difference is that the SNM is a squeeze bottle and won’t raise eyebrows in public. The neti pot requires a sink, and is not for public viewing. Both have immediate and even larger effects over the following hour or two.

    And while you are doing the allergy thing, keep the fiber up. Graham crackers and oatmeal are good, and the skin of apples digests into a great soluble (carries into the blood stream, helps detox individual cells) fiber.

    I have neighbors that wear a dust mask outside on high pollen and allergen days, especially when doing yard work or mowing lawn.


  4. Jennifer Hamilton

    I know that Spring has officially begun at my house when my daughter develops a scaly rash on her arms and behind her knees. She also develops very dark circles under her eyes–what a sight she is! Luckily here in Florida we have begun to get some really good rain to wash away all of the pollen. In the meantime though, I give my daughter a teaspoon of local honey.

  5. Don’t empty the cleaner, use scented stuff ever and leave gardening to my other half 🙂 I am a moderately bad asthmatic and the stuff I use for that does help some.

    viv in nz

  6. My son and I have the bad spring ones. He can hardly go outside but I’ve found zyrtec and benadryl work for him. I hate to give my kids meds but if I don’t he can’t function. I’ve resorted to taking the eye drops and zyrtec (generic) too, which seems to work where nothing else does. I can stay in my garden for about ten minutes without feeling awful. Oak tree pollen is major for us and what do I have but all oaks… The rest of my family has fall allergies so we take turns sneezing! 🙂

  7. Fortunately I don’t have bad allergies – it’s a good thing with all the pollen here in FL and with all the dog hair we have wafting around our house!

  8. leslie

    I have HORRIBLE seasonal allergies, and the only thing that helps me is a neti pot. I love the relief that it gives! It also clears out sinus infections and colds as well. You really should try it if you haven’t. It seems strange at first but after the first time it is so relieving you can’t imagine why you didn’t ever do it before:)

    I do it once every morning for prevention and then again in the afternoon and evening when allergy season is at it’s worst.

  9. Aunt Sara

    I have the same type of allergies, and found two springs ago that if I followed a non-dairy diet the allergy symptoms basically went away.
    I was eating a vegan diet when I discovered it, but now have added animal proteing and eggs back in. As long as I skip the cheese, milk, and other dairy I do not need my prescription strength allergy medicines.

    You might want to experiment a bit…I think it takes 30 days for the dairy to totally clear out of your system.

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