Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blog-tober - Of Hay Fever and Deja Vu

It comes with the sunshine, the warmth and the need to wash all of your woollens in Mrs Beeton's Woolmix before you put them in a vacuum bag for another year of slumber.


The walk into work was peppered with short, sharp sneezes as I walked up Albert Street. Strangely, the sneezes stopped as I got to Fitzroy Gardens, but a slight tickle has stayed in the back of my throat.

The joys of intermittent hay fever.

I know I'm really lucky in that I only get a bit sneezy on warm, breezy days at the back end of the year. An anti-histamine every few days and I'm right to go, unlike many of my friends who look as if a their treasured pet has died daily from the end of September to the beginning of April, their eyes and noses continually running. A lot of these people who's facial orifices drip continually over this time appear to be expats.

If I look back, I never got hay fever until I moved to England. Before that the only things I was allergic too were a kind of antibiotic and long haired cats - neither bringing up a too bad a reaction. It was only after my first Spring in London after a few weeks of sneezing and snorting, I worked out what it was. A trip to the chemist and all was good after that - and it's been like that ever since. 

Some years I get hayfever. Some years I don't. Don't ask my why, but it's always worse in foreign countries. Now, at my ripe old age, I still find myself getting intermittent hay fever. I don't know if I'm still allergic to bactrim - I've never chanced it again. Cats still make me sneeze a bit, but as long as I wash my hands after I pat them, I'm fine. I've added fake tan and Pantene shampoo to the things I'm allergic to. 

I'm really lucky.

The thing I find strange about allergies is how it effects everybody so differently. I know I get sneezy as I walk past the tennis courts on Albert Street - Fitzroy Gardens with it's myriad of plants doesn't effect me in the slightest. Then again, the scent of night jasmine catches in my throat - and there are just some places when I give a sideways glance and I tear up with the sniffles.

I know it's not strange that you get these allergic reactions in foreign climes - my Dutch friends all appear to battle hay fever every year - and badly. Me, on the other hand, take one look of the green fields of Woking which look all soft and green and my nose becomes a dripping tap. 

This is what I was pondering on my way to work. Why is it certain parts of the trip make my nose run and eyes itch, whereas other parts don't effect me at all?

And what about acquired allergic reactions? As moving countries seems to make your allergies worse, what about those places that you feel akin to? Would you get an allergic reaction in a place where you feel you've been before?

I bring this up, because I have an affinity with Spain - love the place - but it was strange. In Madrid - a city that felt like a completely foreign country, I felt ill half the time. Moving a half hour train ride south to Toledo, a place where I'm certain I've lived many, many times over - and no sneezing. On to Granada - sneezing again. 

Okay, science tells me different types of pollen and pollutants will set different reactions in different people. It follows that there are going to be different pollens and pollutants found every half a kilometre on my walk into the city. Still, it's a bit much for my poor brain to get around.

And I still wonder about the places you've lived in past lives. Would your acquired immunity carry over the centuries. (Past lives - hmmm, something to blog about later in the month)

Strange what the brain thinks about on a five kilometre walk into work.


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

If you suffer from hay fever - don't ever go to France during the summer; even my trusty anti-histamines didn't work there - after all the trouble I went to in Paris to buy some from a very grumpy pharmacist ...




Karyn said...

I'm still waiting for my husband to develop an immunity to my cats. It's only been 7 years....

The Elephant's Child said...

I used to suffer, and badly. I had a course of desensitising injections twenty years ago and have never looked back. Such a relief. I felt like death on a stick for at least three months of the year.
Those shops which are heavy on incense do my nose in still though...