Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When You Are Allergic

My allergies rule my life.

I am allergic or sensitive to a great many things. I do not react always in an expected manner.

I don't just sneeze and get watery eyes. I wheeze and sometimes end up sick for an entire month.

When I was last tested for allergies, which was two years ago, I tested positive for everything in my environment. Dust. Mold. Mildew. Animal dander. Trees of all kinds (oak, pine, etc.). Every grass except for some kind of Asian stuff.

You know, all the things around us.

Animals bother me a lot. Dogs are bad, cats are even worse. While they may make my eyes water and make me sneeze, the ultimate result can be much worse than that. They also make me wheeze, and then I start getting hoarse. My lymph nodes in my neck swell.

If I'm very unlucky I will get laryngitis for a month and not feel well that entire time. This used to happen to me about three times a year until I figured out I need to stay away from places that have animals.

Milk also makes me wheeze if I have too much of it. I can tolerate it in small doses, like in an occasional piece of cheese, but too much and there it goes. Wheeze. Wheeze.

This time of year it's goldenrod and ragweed that sends me into spasms. We have a lot of goldenrod near the house and if I walk through a stand of it when it blooms, well, there's another round of wheezing and the potential for laryngitis.

Because of my allergies, I had to stop researching a book I was working on back in 1994. I needed to spend a great deal of time in the archives at the university in Charlottesville. Unfortunately every time I went to do my work, my asthma kicked in so badly that I had to leave.

I eventually gave up and abandoned the project.

Old homes often bother me (they may be clean but there is often mold which no one seems to smell but me). I love to do these stories, so I try to do them in the summer, when I can spend more time outside than in (and I must hope they haven't just mowed the yard). This does hamper my work sometimes.

Perfumes are a killer. When I go into a major department store, I literally hold my breath and hurry through the perfume area so I don't have to reach for my inhaler. All of my friends know not to cover themselves in smelly-goods if they're going to ride in my car or spend time in my home. Otherwise they get to watch me cough and wheeze.

And cigarettes? I do my best to avoid smoking restaurants and areas where smokers stand. I have a few friends who smoke but none who do it around me, thankfully.

When I am out and visit someplace where there are smokers or perfumes or animals, I rush home and take a shower, regardless of time of day. That helps, I think, because it opens up my sinuses immediately and gets the cigarette smoke or the animal dander off my body.

My allergies apparently started at birth. My mother did not breast feed and I turned out to be allergic to my formula. And then of course I was allergic to cow's milk.

I ended up being raised on goat's milk. My mother used to tell me I smelled like little nanny goat for the first year of my life.

Baahh. Baahh.


  1. As I meet more and more people that are allergic to so much, I become very thankful for my health.

  2. I used to get those allergy shots when I was a teenager cause I was allergic to everything. They were horrid and didn't help a bit. I've learned to live with the symptoms, but they are not half as bad as what you have to deal with. Ugh, that is awful.

  3. That must be quite difficult to manage - goats milk, eh

  4. It must be terrible to be so afflicted with allergies. I've been lucky, although I think as I get older I am developing some.

  5. Oh,wow...that's terrible. I'm sorry you have such troubles. For what it's worth, I've heard from more than one source that the herb stinging nettle provides relief from allergies. Might be worth a try...

  6. Beth - I haven't tried stinging nettle, thanks for the tip.

    SF - I took shots too when I was young. I don't know that they did a lot of good either. My doctor would like me to try them again, though. I am undecided.

    June - Allergies change and you could indeed be developing some. I hope they don't get bad!

  7. I don't know if I would go with those shots again, Dew. I think they caused me to have more allergies- maybe from sensitizing me? I don't know. I'm just sure they didn't help and maybe did more harm. That's just my two cents about it.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!