A house without boxes of nose tissue is a house inhabited by the non-allergic. I have five boxes of tissue throughout my home at all times. My allergies are to most animals, pollens, grass, hay, perfumes, smoke, feathers, dust, soil, angora, cashmere, wool, cilantro, shellfish, MSG, red dye #5, mascara, and whatever the north wind blows in. Oddly, the cedar fever that tends to put everyone in this area into a nasal mess does not affect me. Go figure!
Some allergens turn my neck red or make me itch. Some make me nauseated. While others make me sneeze or redden my eyes. I take Zyrtec everyday, and when I visit someone with inside animals, I take an extra antihistamine, usually Chlor-Trimeton. Otherwise, I’ll have an asthma attack and struggle to breathe, which is quite unpleasant. Unfortunately, I have passed asthma on to one son and two grandsons. It comes from my mother’s side of the family. One of her aunts died of asthma, though probably because the doctors back then did not know how to treat it.
My other son didn’t develop allergies until his mid-thirties. He often bragged that he wasn’t allergic to anything, until one year cedar fever showed him otherwise. Now, he sneezes and his head is clogged by smoke, pollens and sawdust. Since he’s a fine woodworker(masterpiecewoodworking.com/), that’s not too good.
I never smoked, even before my doctor told me that with my asthma smoking would result in an early death. No one in our family smoked/smokes. Having advocated smoke-free restaurants, other public buildings, and airplanes for decades, I celebrate every time smoking is banned. It has nothing to do with smokers’ rights. It is a matter of health to everyone near the smoker. Smoking puts everyone in harm’s way. Our bodies need oxygen, the purer the better. Smokers do not have the right to ruin my lungs and ability to breath. They only have the right to harm and kill themselves. No other addiction affects others as directly and invasively as smoking does.
Parents who smoke around their children are guilty of passive abuse. Right off the bat, babies born of smoking mothers have weaker lungs and experience respiratory problems. (After our daughter was born, my ex-mother-in-law became offended when I told her she could not smoke in our house.) People who smoke should have to wear helmets and inhale their own smoke over and over again. That the government does not ban the production of tobacco, when its use results in cancer/heart disease/lung disease, is totally irresponsible. But then, this country runs on an infinite lack of common sense. People want their vices no matter what the consequences.
Having allergies is not funny and should not be taken lightly or be a source of humor for the non-allergic. It’s like having to wear glasses and people lick their fingers and smear your lenses. Why is that considered funny? Do they think glasses are a prop we can do without? We are who we are and have what we have. To be disrespectful of afflictions or imperfections is just plain rude and insensitive. But, that’s hardly surprising given a world where bullies and smart alecks abound, and are too often highly paid.
I have probably always had allergies, but back in the 1950s it was seldom identified as such in children. (Actually, even now, doctors don’t treat toddlers for allergies.) We always had a cat in the house and I was fine, but I did become sick more than my siblings. As a teenager, I read with a cat in my lap most of the time. Then, I married and left home at 19. After being away from animals for over a year, I came back for a Christmas visit and was instantly overcome by asthma and could not stay at my parents’ house. It seems that my having stopped competitive swimming, which gave me strong lungs, and my having been in an animal-free environment had allowed my body to revert to its true nature.
After that incident, which shocked everyone, I began a course of allergy shots. Three years later, I was still the same. I started keeping antihistamines and an inhaler in my purse, whenever I went out. Much to my chagrin, cats and dogs still consider me their friend; I’m a magnet for them. I must admit baby animals are difficult to ignore. Achoo!
One July, I also experienced instant asthma while swimming in frigid Barton Springs. I rolled onto my back, trying to suck some warm air into my lungs, as I struggled to get out. This incident really bothered me. My sister might not have noticed if I’d gone under, and I had no breath to call out.
Cold air, also, gives me asthma, so I know to keep my mouth covered. Mufflers are a necessity not a fashion statement with me. However, it did not bother me as a child when sledding down little hills in Indianapolis.
When anyone in my family has an asthma attack but is out of medicine and needs instant relief, I always recommend steam. Babies should be taken into steamy showers for a few minutes. For older children and adults, boil some water and breath the steam, or make hot tea and breath that. Whatever is causing the asthma will be made irrelevant momentarily by the steam. Airways will open up and relief will occur. Meanwhile, have someone call the doctor or go to the pharmacy and buy the necessary medication(s). Steam will work even if the asthma has been caused by emotional trauma or stress.
[Please use steam cautiously. Don’t let hot liquid spill on you or your child.]