So many people suffer from allergies and do not recognize their condition. They spend time suffering from many colds, viruses, and infections, obtaining care in physician’s offices and pharmacies without the slightest suspicion that an allergic condition is setting them up for other medical struggles. Allergic conditions are physically and emotionally stressful. They complicate education, marriages, parenting and professions. I wish I did not know this from personal experience.
Allergy is not a normal, healthy condition. If you know you have allergies, you are many steps ahead of me in the journey of life. Now, that allergy is in the vocabulary of most everybody, you have probably given some thought to the question, do I have allergies? While I did not even consider that I might be an allergic person, my allergies developed without my awareness or permission. Do not do what I did. Be aware.
I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio in a nicely built small brick home with conscientious parents. My parents said they had both had cauterization for “sinus” in their 20’s and we all belonged to the morning symphony of coughing, hawking and sniffling. When I left for school each morning the concern was more likely to be “Do you have your handkerchiefs” rather than to you have your lunch money or jacket. Everybody in Cincinnati was said to have a sinus condition, so I thought I was normal. I wasn’t.
By the time I was a teenager I had devised methods of managing coughing and mucus so that friends would not notice. It wasn’t easy but managing a puffy face was much more difficult. Makeup often made me look worse. Friends commented that I did not need lipstick because my lips were already red. I did not consider myself sick and the word “allergy” was not in my vocabulary.
I was in college by the time the headaches and sinus blockage became routine. Aspirin helped with the headaches and I still thought I was normal. But I began to notice that my dorm friends did not take aspirin and did not seem to get headaches. I also noticed that in the fall and in the spring there were “events” which were becoming difficult to manage. I still did not suspect allergy.
Frankly, I had no clue my schooldays were being ruined by allergies. I did not have my grandmother’s serious asthma. Back then, I had never heard of anybody dying from an allergic reaction. My parents provided the best medical care available and I had never heard the word “allergy” from any physician. Yet, it seemed difficult to keep up with my peers. Now I not only had become a handkerchief addict but had acquired a “trick back” which defied diagnosis and kept me from taking gym in college. The cause of this “inconvenience” defied medical diagnosis for repeated x-rays showed no bone abnormality.
Gradually, the condition of allergy which was sabotaging my early years became more apparent. I could “grin and bear it” but it was getting difficult to hide. It was also ruining attempts at having “fun”. Riding in convertibles, class picnics, friendly battles in piles of fallen leaves, hayrides in summer – all had their prices. Looking back, I wonder how my life would have been without this subtle invader.
Now, in my golden years, I am thankful I’ve never had a classic anaphylactic reaction and I’ve never had an asthma attack. Nevertheless, I was unnecessarily miserable for too many days and it took many years to associate that misery with allergy. How could a biology major be so clueless?
If you are miserable and suspect your misery is from allergies, but have never caught the attention of your physicians, my new book is for you. Meanwhile, our book currently highlighted on this website, contains much useful information.
If you are an asthma patient primed by allergies or if you suffer anaphylaxis your physicians are already most attentive. If you're just an ordinary sniffing, long suffering, “grin and bear it” allergy denier, I hope you will plow through the stories, the easy science and yes, the more difficult science in Allergy and Cross-Reactivity.
Once allergy is identified, it can be treated. Specific tests will determine
exactly which allergens are your allergens. Guesswork will cease.
Desensitization can begin and then symptoms will be reduced. It takes
dedication but it is so very worthwhile.