My new theory on how seasonal allergies affect me
I first became aware of the possibility that I may have seasonal allergies when I went to Art Camp at the age of 11. My drawing class went out into an overgrown, grassy field to reconnect us "city kids" with nature and develop our freeform thinking. On my way to the field, I started sneezing uncontrollably. By the time we reached the field itself, I had mucus pouring out of every facial orifice I had available for the surplus to ooze from. Fearing that I was coming down with a case of 24-hour flu during my 10-day trip away from home, I asked to return to the camp to lie down. Mid-way through the walk back to camp, my symptoms abated. By evening, I was fine.
Over the years, I've been keeping an eye on The Weather Network's Pollen Report for Toronto and have found that my allergies flare up at their worst on days with high birch pollen counts and grass pollen counts.
This year, however, I noticed that the birch pollen season barely affected me — a good sign, one that may mean that my tolerance is improving. I waited with bated breath for grass season to begin, traditionally when my allergies are at their worst. Unexpectedly, I've barely noticed the gradual increase in grass pollen levels. My eyes tend towards itchy at this time of year, but daily cold-water rinses keep this from being overwhelming.
Building on a theory I've been working on over the years, I find that my grass allergies are aggravated to the point of being unbearable on days when I'm standing beside a heavily perfumed or cologned person — usually on my subway ride in to work — as I was today. I found that the simple act of turning my head to a different airstream was enough to alleviate (but not dissipate) the strong allergic reaction I was having. Sadly, I ended up taking allergy medication while I was standing beside the overly-musked person, knowing full well that — by the time it kicked in — the aggravating stimulus would be long-gone. So, today I find myself allergy-medicated and still tainted, slightly, by the offender's bottled-scent. It would seem that it's more a combination of respiratory-distresses that cause me real difficulty, rather than any individual problem.