To me, spring means spending time inside – and a battery of medication to temporarily keep my symptoms at bay.
Ah, spring… the weather starts to get warmer here in the northeastern part of the US. Kids start playing outside in the parks and playground, students start the spring semester inching their way closer and closer till the end of school. Ice-cream trucks start to make their way around the neighborhood with its musical tunes heralding its arrival. Heavy winter coats are shed in lieu of lighter, more stylish and colorful attire to keep at bay the occasional cool wind during an evening stroll.
Spring used to be a great time for me. I enjoyed the sunny and warm days outdoors, often riding a bike or simply spending the time with my daughter as signs of life springs all around us. Not anymore. No, spring comes every year and I dread it like millions around the country always do. What does spring mean to me?
I wake up in the morning with a stuffed up nose, making what was simply an unconscious bodily function a laborious endeavor. As the day wears on I sneeze and wipe a very runny nose. A never ending supply of tissues fill all available pockets on my person. My eyes water and itch, making any outdoor activity highly uncomfortable especially while driving. Then there’s the obstruction of the my bronchial tubes, making breathing a heavy effort as my body wracks in coughing fits. The doctor told me years ago that I had asthma. Asthma? This late in life? This blows. Thank goodness it only comes and goes during the spring.
I walk around feeling lousy and my head in a daze. No my friends, spring is not fun for me! I remember being in Paris on one April day a few years back. I woke up in the hotel with severe allergies that threatened to derail the entire trip. It was the first time I had to see a foreign doctor outside of the US to get some medication! That was an interesting experience.
To most, spring means quality time outside. To me, spring means spending time inside – and a battery of medication to temporarily keep my symptoms at bay: Claritin, Zyrtec, Advair, Nasonex, and Opcon-A to name just a few. ANY antihistamine (in large doses thank you very much) will do!
While most keep windows open to allow the occasional cool breeze, I must keep mine closed. Clothing must be removed immediately upon arrival and tossed in a hamper as if they were some kind of lethal contaminant. The next order of business is a shower to remove the tree and grass pollen as well as ragweed (in my case oak and birch pollen being the prime culprits). Going to bed without a shower is guaranteed to leave that stuff on the pillow and in the bed. Shampooing is also a must to wash away the pollen. I feel like some CDC worker scrubbing down after coming in contact with life-threatening germs. The air conditioner has to be cut on earlier after changing the filters. I can spend extra money on an air purifier with a HEPA filter but in the past, I’ve never had to go that extreme. Also, wearing sunglasses has helped me a lot as it tends to keep blowing pollen from my eyes (in addition to covering up my red-tinged zombie eyes).
Then there’s the mold due to the extra moisture on the ground and in the air from the melting snow and the heavy rains. This triggers and exacerbates my asthma. Don’t get me started.
To make matters worse? There are reports that 2014 will be THE WORST year for allergies as a “pollen vortex” threatens millions of allergy sufferers (okay, every year seems to be the worst for us – climate change anyone or hyperbole?). Because of the brutal and long winter, grass, trees and flowers will now pollinate at the SAME TIME and not staggered during normal spring time. What this means is that it’s going to be a sh@#$storm of pollen out here!
I recently downloaded a new app to my phone to help keep track of pollen where I live. WebMd has a good app.
The app I like the most is from Zyrtec (of course they would create an app and push their product at the same time). Today is not looking so good:
Yeah, I’m staying inside and stocking up on meds. Isn’t spring wonderful?