A is for Allergies

I started on a weekly regimen of allergy injections called immunotherapy, which, ideally, will lessen or eliminate some of the ailments I had been experiencing.

I was feeling pretty lousy in the spring, worse in the summer, and not so great in the fall. Sneezing, scratchy throat, watery eyes, off and on for months. So I decided to visit my daughter’s allergist. After the doctor took my health history, a nurse treated my arms like pin cushions in trying to ascertain what, if anything, I was allergic to.

The good news is that I am NOT allergic to any animals or any foods; so no peanut allergy, like my daughter has. The bad news is that I am allergic to – and no, I don’t know what they all mean – ragweed, mugwort, pigweed, plantain, sheep sorrel, grass, rye grass, timothy grass, June grass, red top, sweet vernal, ash, birch, elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar and willow. In other words, I am allergic to tree pollens, which begin to appear in the US Northeast in mid-March and are present into June; grass pollens, which appear in late May and are present through the summer; and ragweed pollen, airborne from mid-August through September.

One course of action would be to remain in air-conditioned buildings from late February to October; hardly practical, and boring to boot. The other option is to start on a weekly regimen of allergy injections called immunotherapy, which, ideally, will lessen or eliminate some of the ailments I had been experiencing. I started in December, because the idea is to build up the immunity over time, so when allergy season kicks in, I’ll be less affected.

I get shots in each arm once a week, with gradually increasing doses of treatment. I could do as often as thrice a week, if I had the time; if it’s less often than once every couple weeks, its efficacy is lost, and I have to start the regimen all over again. The most difficult part, actually, is the waiting around for 30 minutes AFTER the injections, to make sure I don’t have a severe reaction, which, as they like to let you know, could be anything from an itchy throat or runny nose, to chest tightening or hives, to, in rare instances, drop in blood pressure, shock and even death.

So far, so good.

Allergies by Paul Simon, a minor hit, #44 in late 1983

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

40 thoughts on “A is for Allergies”

  1. I am allergic to chocolate – for years I suffered migraine attacks and put it down to studying for exams – ofcourse at the time I was eating chocolate which I wasn’t particularly bothered about to be honest. Anyhow once I stopped eating chocolate the migraines stopped. Move the clock forward a few years, now on occasions I get the same pains when I have coffee – not everytime but sufficient for me to drink herb tea instead – no headaches. Some perfumes are now annoying me so yet again avoidance is called for – I am saving hubby a canny amount! lol!
    ABC Round 10 eh? Time flies when we are having fun!

  2. I am certainly more easily confused than I once was, but aren’t you a couple days early for ABC Wednesday, or is it that you just can’t add them to the list until later? That sort of information doesn’t seem to be on their site.

  3. I wrote this now because I’m doing three straight birthdays today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. But the ABCW post won’t be up until Tuesday (Wednesday, your time.)

  4. Oh dear! How awful, Roger! You’d better live in a desert with only sand or in the arctic areas with only snow and ice. No,joking apart: I do hope the treatment you are having will work! Be careful!

  5. You are like my husband, he is also allergic to tree pollen. My son on the other hand is also allergic to peanuts. I hope you feel better soon, it sucks to be sick especially during winter.

  6. I’m sorry you have to deal with allergies. I used to have bad sinus issues but it was something I seemed to grow out of for the most part. I hope that the treatment will help you.

  7. I am suffering as we blog! My allergies are a lot like yours. I did the shots as a kid, they may have helped… and am thinking of doing them again. I just hate the poking and the regimen of having to go, wait, get pricked, wait, react or not, get pricked again or not, wait… you know how it goes. I wish you a lot of luck!

  8. I went through allergy testing years ago, too, and now avoid certain foods because of a sensitivity to them. Also, in the springtime, I always have allergy meds on hand because of the grasses, etc. So far I haven’t had to resort to injections – I sure hope it works for you as there’s nothing worse than all those symptoms. (Well, I guess there are other things worse, but still it’s annoying!) Try and have an allergy-free week, Rog!

    abcw team

  9. I sincerely hope this testing and shots works for you. Its so hard to be honking and blowing all the time.
    Take care and I’m glad we are all doing ABC Wednesday again.

  10. I had a doctor who said “Oh, everyone on the prairie has allergies. We don’t do tests, we just treat the symptoms.” He really said that.
    Next doctor just accepted that I had allergies until I came to him one day with a list, which included heartburn. “Oh,” he said immediately, “well, the heartburn is the clue. You have GERD, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, not allergies.”
    So now I’m on a bland diet, which works most of the time. Every now and then I get a stuffed-up head, drippy eyes, drippier nose, earache, headache, sore throat, and I know I’ve eaten something that triggered the stomach acid which “pops” backward up that supposed one-way flap and into my entire sinus cavity. Or maybe I haven’t. Maybe the acid is there just because.
    Life. If it were all fun and games, what would I have to complain about?
    Hope your immune system is all built up by spring weed time, Roger.

  11. I am one of the fortunate few who is almost allergy free. Although my doctors don’t agree with me. Each time I think I have some kind of a cold they tell me it is allergies, and put me on allergy meds. Which I don’t really think do a whole lot of good. Now, I just don’t bother with the doctors, I go to bed until it goes away. ; )

  12. My friend has similar allergies, she is very outdoorsie so just battles on. I just feel so lucky I am only allergic to fir pollen but because of that can appreciate how horrible it is to be properly allergic, that and my friends watering eyes. I once read that locally produced honey (because it contains the local pollen) is the thing to eat. Don’t know how true that is.

  13. Sorry to hear about the allergy. Allergies sucks do but the good thing is you learn how to handle it when it strikes. Spring is good but not when you have allergy. Thanks for the visit Roger

  14. When I was much younger my allergies were much worse. In time the pollen allergies just disappeared, but the minor food allergies took a bit of effort on my part. I am thankful that I never went through the weekly needling (though, maybe if I had, it would have dissipated a lot earlier)

  15. You have my sympathies, Roger. A number of our children have allergies (from their father’s side of the family, of course) and the two that were really bad went through a course of needles, – either that or time and maturity, have not solved the problem, but made it less distressing.

  16. Allergies are nasty. I have suffered with them most of my life…which is half a century now. Desensitization shots did squat for me. Allergies can change as quickly as the weather, old ones disappearing, new ones appearing so I just take allergy pills now, and they work wonders. Good luck!

  17. My co-teacher’s husband’s allergy is exactly like yours – tree pollens. Glad you mentioned all those strange (but sound interesting and pretty) names. Could be useful later.

  18. Hi Roger…A new round. I too have some allergies. But since retiring to Southern CA, not nearly so bad. We lived in Almond Orchards before retiring and it was really bad at harvest time. DUST!

    Now if the wind blow…I’m blowing my nose!

  19. I see peanuts, I want to eat it, I see peanut butter, I want to spread it on the sandwish, I see satay kebabs and I want to dip them in the satay sauce. AHHHHHH!!!!
    I am cursed with peanut allergy.
    I am a lazy person, and I don’t want to clean the sheets. But I can’t, both the husband and I are allergic to dist mites.

    The lists goes on and on.

  20. Hi Roger, I’m sorry to hear about our allergies. This is a very informative post. I suffer from allergies as well, which makes my Asthma worse, but I don’t require weekly injections like you do. Taking Caritin and a Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray daily helps. Hope you feel better soon.

  21. Yikes, seems like you’re allergic to everything with a leaf. Good luck with the shots. Sounds like a long process, but hopefully with a happy outcome. AS for the Paul Simon song, I don’t remember it at all. No surprise, not one of his best efforts. The video was weird. Is that what your allergy looks like?

  22. I’ve often heard that if you eat honey from the local region, it helps with pollen allergies. I guess the thinking is you inject a little bit every time you eat it and your body builds up antigens. Might be worth a try.

  23. Hello Roger.
    Sorry for my lateness in visiting. I’ve had one stressful week!

    I can totally relate to this post. I am a terrible allergy sufferer & take RX for it. I hope the treatments continues to do you good. I have an aversion to needles & have a hard time getting my yearly flu shots. Can’t imagine getting “stabbed” in both arms on a weekly basis…just thinking about it gives me the shivers!

    Thanks for sharing. Appreciated the anniversary wishes too.

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