While I am sitting here in my house semi-hiding from the outdoors, I realized that those of you who are lucky enough not to have seasonal allergies (or other ones too) sometimes may not understand the lives of those who are not-so-lucky.
So why would I be hiding? First I thought I was coming down with a sinus infection / throat cold. Then I thought it’s an ear infection since my ears are plugged and I feel a little woozy. But what tipped me off was every time I went outside the roof of my mouth got super itchy. Plus when I spoke with my mom, she had the exact same thing and her doctor told her to use a nasal rinse (I love the Neti Pot) every day until mid-September.
When I woke up this morning I did a quick Google search and ….. I have Hay Fever. The symptoms usually start immediately after you’re exposed to a specific allergy-causing substance (allergen) and can include:
- Runny nose and nasal congestion
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
- Sinus pressure and facial pain
- Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
- Decreased sense of smell or taste
So those of you who don’t have allergies, this will open your eyes to the things we suffer (and no we aren’t being prissy, it’s just how it goes).
It Tops Your Worst Cold
Severe allergies combine a cold and a migraine, into one awful mixture of bad feelings that can knock you out for days. Unfortunately “allergies” is not a legitimate excuse in most peoples’ eyes so you have to load yourself up with as many allergy meds to make it through the day or take the day off and stay indoors. There are times when the pressure in your sinuses feel like they are going to explode and you just want it to pop to let the pressure go. I’ve even been told by an allergist to live and work in air conditioned environments. That is quite difficult when I love being outdoors.
Everything Costs More
It really defies all logic but every product that is made without the use of extra ingredients like dyes and fragrances costs more. Sometimes you have to purchase higher priced products because they are the only ones which don’t have whatever you are allergic to. Such as certain bouillon that doesn’t contain soy. Those with food allergies understand this concept all too well since they often have to opt for more expensive items to avoid allergens. Not to mention it sucks being the pain-in-the-butt person with allergies that people are always afraid of killing if they pick the wrong ingredients. On another note, needing to buy allergy medication always costs an arm and a leg. Fortunately, you can now get Reactine (the chemical compound cetirizine)
prescribed by your doctor.
Food MUST Be Remade
It’s annoying and makes you feel high-maintenance when your food gets screwed up in a restaurant, but for people with food allergies it is potentially life threatening. It’s not as if the peanuts on the Asian dish can just be picked off in the back. If you have a severe allergy to peanuts your throat would close up due to the contact with the rest of the dish. Most restaurants are pretty good about cross contamination and meeting allergen requests (like Bauer Kitchen –– amazing!
), but if you have a food allergy, especially a severe one, you are always leaving it open to chance by letting someone else prepare your food for you.
We Love Winter
Although our Canadian winters are brutal; it’s cold and miserable, and the smart birds get the heck out of here and fly south for the Winter. It’s still better than the torture that is Spring when you wake up with sinus pressure and congestion caused by everything outside. Most allergy sufferers love the winter because apart from a few indoor allergies, we are free from most of the irritants that get in the way of our lives. We can breathe easily outside and cut back on taking our allergy pills we were taking everyday.
We should have some kind of deal on tissues
Whenever there is a sale on tissues, I stock up. Any allergy sufferer understands the struggle between nose comfort and price when it comes to buying tissues. The bad days can have you going through an entire box in a day. So either your wallet takes a hit or your nose is raw. Either way, you can write off your other medical expenses; why don’t tissues count?
Allergy Attacks Kill Your Day
Compared to other health issues, it is nowhere near as bad, but an allergy attack brings on a severe sneezing attack, enough to make you want to go back to bed for an hour or two. Causing even an onslaught of a rash and hives where you want to itch your skin off… these symptoms are just the start of the multiple rounds you will have this season. No matter if you go back to sleep or not, you are most likely looking at going through the rest of the day or even the week with swollen eyes, irritated skin and plugged sinuses.
Most people are not a huge fan of needles, severe allergy sufferers deal with them a whole lot more. If your allergies are bad enough, chances are that you have had allergy shots at some point in your life, or used an EpiPen and headed to the hospital from anaphylactic shock. Some people get used the the needles… however it has caused a mild phobia for me.
The awkwardness of being allergic to other people’s Things
It’s not your fault my overactive immune system hates your or cat, or scented candle. Whatever triggered that allergic reaction doesn’t disappear just because you put the cat in a bedroom or blew out the candle. It may alleviate the problem for a short period of time but the allergies will always be there. We build our lives to our state of normal where we aren’t exposed to our allergens and we will avoid the places with allergens. Sorry!
It’s forced upon us
It’s not uncommon for non-allergy sufferers to think of allergies as something in our head. We don’t love sneezing for hours or breaking out in hives for no reason (or being near someone eating peanuts near us). Suffering from severe allergies is miserable and unfortunate but our awesome friends get used to our strange restrictions and then life is much better.
We lose our senses
For anyone to lose one of our senses is difficult, but for people with allergies it happens on the regular. Dry itchy eyes make it difficult to see, congestion cuts off our sense of smell and plugs our ears from hearing. Then the smell and taste senses are totally thrown off or eliminated.
Just remember we won’t get you sick and life still goes on. Here’s hoping allergy sufferers get better soon (like me!).