2018-04-18 / Editorials

Wheezing season

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

It’s the wheezing season, and if I’d known I’d need to blow my nose this many times every spring, I’d have sprung for some Kleenex stock and I’d be retired on a beach somewhere with a girl in a bikini bringing me drinks with umbrellas in them instead of writing this column for you.

What’s worse is that the wheezing season comes complete with a very visible reminder — a thick coat of yellow pollen that covers everything that spends more than 60 seconds at a time outside, including springer spaniels.

Milly, the liver and white springer spaniel that lives at my house, was napping on the deck a few days ago. When she woke up, she shook her whole body, as dogs want to do, and you could see a visible cloud around her. She looked like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoons, except it was a cloud of pollen, not dirt.

The wheezing season is a cruel trick that Mother Nature plays on us. She makes spring so inviting beautiful. It’s finally warm and flowers are blooming. But as soon as we step outdoors, our eyes start watering, our noses start running and we start sneezing.

Of course, this year, Mother Nature is really showing her mean streak. Not only is the air thick with pollen, winter is still holding on. It was 37 degrees this morning when I took Milly for a walk.

A few years ago, with the over-the-counter allergy medicine I was using not helping, I went to the doctor, who prescribed a different drug. I took one of these pills every day and I managed to get through the wheezing season with few ill effects.

Unfortunately, this year, the drug hasn’t touched my allergies.

“You’ve probably built up a tolerance for that drug,” my doctor said.

So, I’m trying a new drug. It’s not as effective as the old drug, but it helps a little, which is better than uncontrollable sneezing every time I go outside.

In the grand scheme of things, my allergies aren’t that bad. And, really, what are my alternatives? I can’t lock myself in an airtight, air-conditioned room until pollen season ends. I’ve considered Astroturfing the entire planet, but I kind of hate to go that far.

It could be worse. Lots of people have food allergies, which makes it difficult for them to go out to a nice restaurant because they must ask about every ingredient in every dish.

Some people can’t eat seafood. Or foods made with wheat. Or drink alcohol. One friend is allergic to peanuts. He accidentally ate some peanuts one time and he nearly died. All I do is blow my nose, so I really shouldn’t complain.

I’m fortunate. I don’t really have food allergies. Sometimes I’ll tell servers I’m allergic to mushrooms. I tell them that if I eat mushrooms, I’ll die. That’s not true, of course, but I figure it might scare the cook into being extra careful about adding mushrooms to my food.

Last week, as I was sneezing my head off, a co-worker asked me, “Are you getting sick?”

“No,” I replied. “It’s just my allergies. They’re killing me.”

“Well, I thought maybe you were coming down with a cold,” she said.

She said it as if having a cold was somehow worse. It’s not. A cold has the common decency to go away after a few days. Allergies linger for months.

So here I sit, Kleenex at the ready.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke @gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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