Hay Fever: A satirical point of view.
First of all, I would like to address those of you who don’t suffer with hay fever. Take a moment out of your day to go to the window and open it… That Spring air hits you; fragrant and fresh. Now, take a deep breath… I bet you’re taking a sigh of mindful pleasure and thinking to yourself, “This is wonderful.”
Well, for many of us, let me tell you, “No, it’s not!”
If you are as unlucky as I am, you’ll be clutching your eyedrops and eating antihistamine tablets as though they are sweet candies. For the fortunate souls, these tools of survival will provide relief and the return to a functioning existence. However, if your allergies exceed these over-the-counter methods, as mine do, you’ll slowly, but surely, turn into a crazy person that manically reaches out to the nearest doctor for medical assistance. Does it sound like a nightmare so far? It is!
Imagine feeling itchy all over, puffy faced, and with red eyes, that just won’t stop tearing. If you think that is all, you are mistaken. Imagine commuting to work on a packed train, sneezing like a maniac, and people looking at you as though you’re demonically possessed. Do you want more? I’ll give you more. Try an itchy throat, itchy ears and, all the while, looking swollen, tired and feeling completely stupid. Compared to all of this, I bet you’re feeling pretty lucky right about now, thinking, “Thank god I don’t have hay fever!” Right? Let me tell you, the true horror is that my sister used to say the same thing. She woke up one morning, aged 35, and couldn't stop sneezing. She went to the doctor and, sure enough, was diagnosed with hay fever. After years of being mocked, you can guess who had the last laugh this time? Thank you. You’re welcome. The End.
Most importantly, don’t forget, you’re not alone. We suffer together!
Ah-chew!!! *sniff sniff*
Hay Fever: Part 1 - An introduction
What is Hay Fever and when does it occur?
Hay fever is a very common allergic reaction which usually occurs during spring and summer. However, it’s been noticed that in the last couple of years, more and more people are starting to experience it in the middle of January. “January?” You might ask; “But there are no leaves and no flowers, let alone hay?” Well, you can thank overall higher temperatures; “Gee, thanks Global Warming!”
Also, both adults and children can be affected. Meaning, even though you’ve lived most of your adult life hay fever free, life can throw you a curveball and you’ll wake up one day, with a new friend called allergic rhinitis. One of the reasons for that can be pollution, living in big cities (where nature doesn’t come around very often) and the overall obsession with cleanliness in our society.
What causes Hay Fever?
Most people think of hay fever, as a trivial condition. In other words, they think we’re all overreacting. To that, I say: “No we’re not joking, this is something serious.” It is known that allergic rhinitis can have a serious impact on your quality of life. But how does it take place? In this case, it is not us that are “overreacting” as many would believe, but our body’s immune response to allergen sources such as pollen, house dust mite, mold or animal dander (hair, saliva, skin flakes). There you have it, we’re not going to apologize for our immune systems.
How are these allergens carried?
These are known as airborne allergens, as they are carried in the air we breathe and affect the nose, eyes, throat and lungs. Obviously, if you touch objects that are known to contain these allergens and bring your hand to your eyes and nose, you’ll get the same effect. So make sure to often wash your hands and make sure to keep your apartment clean.
What are the most common symptoms?
Rhinitis is mostly an inflammation of the nasal lining, symptoms will include sneezing, a runny/blocked nose, itching and mucus. By unconsciously swallowing this mucus it will, in turn, lead to coughing and if untreated, even to severe episodes of asthma. So make sure you don’t leave these symptoms untreated. Another unnerving symptom is having itchy gums. Trying to alleviate them with your tongue, will backfire and also lead to itchy ears. If you haven’t realized by now, it’s a vicious cycle.
And other well-known symptoms are itchy and teary eyes, via obsessive rubbing they can inflame and start reddening. Don’t get surprised if people will ask if you just came back from Amsterdam after a long weekend of getting high and partying. Trust and believe, some of us wish it were the latter. :)
Interested in more? In my next posts, I will discuss the different kinds of treatments, allergy tests and the elusive immunotherapy.