Allergic to Spring

For three months of the winter that seemingly would not end we waited for the dawn of Spring.

Now I’m waiting for a chance to enjoy it.

At age 62, I’ve apparently developed hay fever and related allergies. Spring has become my enemy.

It began Thursday as I rode my Harley along a country road. Suddenly, my eyes teared up and sneezing fit hit — something you don’t want while cruising along on a two-wheeler at 50-plus miles per hour.

I took it easy going home but had to stop often to clear out my sinuses and dry my eyes. Picked up some over-the-counter allergy medicine.

On Friday, the symptoms were worse: watery eyes, constant sneezing fits and constantly draining sinuses. Stayed in bed and nursed the conditions.

Woke up feeling better on Saturday. New River Valley Harley-Davidson had a bike event scheduled so I rode over to eat some free lunch and listen to country music. Later, I headed west on U.S. 460 towards Pearisburg, planning to pick up Rte. 100 for a leisurely ride back to Floyd County.

Heading into a turn at 60 miles per hour, my eyes teared up again and I lost vision — something you don’t want to do at speed on a motorcycle. My eyes cleared just in time to see the side of the road approaching. I turned sharply, braked and brought the bike to a stop just as a sneezing fit hit.

Took a while to calm down. I walked off the nerves from the near crash, blew my nose, and climbed back on the bike and rode into Pearisburg at a more sedate pace, finding a drug store and grabbing some Sudafed. Headed for a nearby Dairy Queen, drank a bottle of water and waited for the medicine to kick in before headed home.

By Sunday morning, my eyes were swollen and red along with non-stop sneezing. Went through two boxes of Kleenex. Called the doctor first thing Monday. She took one look at my red eyes and swollen sinuses and said: “Allergies.”

How?  I grew up around here. Never had allergies or hay fever in my life.

Doesn’t matter. Apparently, Hay Fever can strike at any time, even if you’ve never had it before.

Notes the Mayo Clinic Web Site:

Hay fever affects up to 30% of all Americans, including up to 40% of children and 10%-30% of adults. Over $1 billion is spent each year in this country to treat this disorder, and millions of school and work days each year are lost by sufferers of hay fever symptoms. These figures are probably an underestimate because many of those affected may attribute their discomfort to a chronic cold. Although childhood hay fever tends to be more common, this condition can occur at any age and usually occurs after years of repeated inhalation of allergic  substances. The incidence of allergic disease has dramatically increased in the U.S. and other developed countries over recent decades.

Hay fever is a misnomer. Hay is not a usual cause of this problem, and it does not cause fever. Early descriptions of sneezing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation while harvesting field hay promoted this popular term.

So I’m on a treatment program that includes allergy medication, anti-biotics and codeine-laced cough syrup to offset the chronic bronchitis that always sets in when I get a respiratory ailment. I have to wait a few days to see how my body reacts to the medicine before trying to ride a motorcycle.

The constant watery eyes and blurred vision make it difficult to do simple things, like write this article. I have to stop several times to dry my eyes and let my vision clear.

I was looking forward to Spring Fever — but not this.

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7 thoughts on “Allergic to Spring”

  1. Four Springs ago, at age 56, I developed the same thing. Nothing that was prescribed for me, nor anything I bought over-the-counter was working. I was miserable and worried about what the continous use of Afrin would do to me. Thankfully, a friend told me I needed to buy some local, unprocessed honey, and take a tablespoon or two every day. Having been a registered nurse for 30 years, I was skeptical, but figured it wouldn’t hurt me, so gave it a try. After only a week or so, all my symptoms were gone and I haven’t had as much as a sniffle for all these 4 years now. About a week or so ago, my throat started feeling scratchy & my nose slightly stuffy, so I upped my honey from once a day to twice a day, and now I am fine again. Try it – what do you have to lose! Lots of literature available about the benefits of honey – make sure it’s local – it will “immunize” you against the local allergens that are creating the problems!

  2. We have an especially bad case of leaf mold this year. I have allergies but hardly ever in the month of March. And what an especially bad attack I had a couple of weeks ago…all I can think of is the wet winter, extra mold and then several days this month with unusually low humidity….then all the mold goes into the air. This isn’t just my theory..others have said they think it’s leaf mold.

  3. I have allergies as most folks. What’s interesting is that I didn’t develop such symptoms until my mid-fifties. I’ve tried every imaginable allergy med and finally found one that works for me; ie., Zyrtec. I take one every morning and I’m good for 24 hours generally speaking. When the pollen count gets extra high then it may take a second dose in the evening. The reason I like this medication is it doesn’t make me drowsy. Benedryl is fine if you plan on turning in for the night, but not for daytime use. You also get some really wild dreams from night time dosing of benedryl. : )) I can’t stand feeling “owlie” throughout the day though as with most allergy meds. Some folks rave about Claritin, but it too makes me somewhat drowsy which is not good if you need to operate equipment.

    It’s sold as a generic too with the best price available for large quantities at Costco. Your local drug chain such as Walgreen et al. also sell 100-120 counts at a better price point than what’s found out in the main aisles. Just ask and they generally have such quantities behind the counter.

    You might need a double dose in the AM Doug considering the severity of your reaction to allergens.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Doug: Did you try using honey, as Joanne suggested? I am curious because I plan to recommend it to family members who have seasonal allergies. It makes a lot of sense. The immune system would produce antibodies to the very pollen that is causing the allergic reaction. In fact, it sounds brilliant! I know you were suffering severely and probably looking for the quickest resolution possible, but perhaps honey is the solution — addressing the cause instead of the symptoms.

    • Hi Yvonne,

      Thanks for the honey recommendation; but, people best be informed that taking bee pollen or raw honey into their systems could trigger an anaphylactic shock requiring immediate medical, life saving intervention. For those that her recommendation works, great, but for others it could be a big “ouch”…!

      Carl Nemo **==

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