Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Allergy Arms Race

Move over, Pepper, and pass me the blanket.

Okay, since I have nothing better to say tonight, I may as well admit that I'm dragging, not because of the taxes (which I e-filed early this evening), nor late-night Doctor Who (although I did a little of that), but because two generic Benedryl (my usual double dose) proved insufficient to calm a major allergy attack last night. The second or third time I was driven out of bed, I inadvertently woke John as well, so he lost two hours of sleep. Meanwhile I went and took a third pill, watched ten minutes of "Human Nature," and finally managed to fall asleep on the couch, my legs stretched awkwardly in front of Pepper, who was disinclined to give up her spot.

I used up most of my stash of leftover napkins as tissues at work today, but now as I prepare to go to bed my only allergy symptoms are irritated eyes, a trace of cough and a patch of itchy skin on my left hand and wrist. But I don't trust the pollen. Chances are excellent that as soon as I lie down, the nasal inconvenience will begin again.

In the early 1970s my treatment of choice was Allerest, and I was quite surprised once in high school when a teacher "caught me" taking one and told me students weren't allowed to self-medicate. I suppose nowadays it would be grounds for suspension. By college, the ingredients in Allerest no longer helped and I eventually found a new over-the-counter improvement on them, featuring dexbromphenermine maleate or somesuch. By the late 1980s, I was getting shots of canelog with ACTH from Dr. E. This steroid-based treatment worked miraculously well at the time, but over the years it became less effective. Dr. E. is long dead now, and canelog has been superceded by the likes of Flonase and Nasonex. Flonase was great for about two years, and Nasonex was adequate for a year or two after that. My current doctor also tried me on various prescription pills, not one of which did a darn thing. Since then I've mostly stuck with the overdose of Benedryl at bedtime, and hoped that nobody would actually murder me over my annoying sniffles and nose blowing the rest of the time. Fortunately, my allergies aren't as bad as they once were. Not nearly. Not most of the time, anyway.

Pink pills alone, or add the expired Nasonex?

But as of yesterday lots of people were suffering considerably from their allergies, including me. Nor do I want to take a chance on waking John up when I try to go to bed in a few minutes. So I think I'll try a little bit of expired Nasonex and...no. Let's leave that for tomorrow, because an initial dose doesn't help and may backfire.

Okay then: two pink pills, as usual, with the possibility of a third. And if Pepper has to share the couch again, then so be it.

If this keeps up, I'll be on the lookout for the next big innovation in allergy treatment. Or at least a fresh prescription for Flonase or Nasonex.

Oh, and we're thinking of getting Pergo for the bedroom, on the theory that a fake wood floor harbors fewer allergens than twenty-year-old carpeting - and looks better as well.

Karen

3 comments:

Becky said...

I second the pergo idea! Carpet is HELL on allergy sufferers. Years ago I remember my doctor telling my mother she had to do a bunch of things to allergy proof my bedroom. Things like 86 the carpeting, encase the mattress in a special cover, same for pillows, no stuffed animals, no bookcases, as few surfaces as possible... I wasn't happy. I had the worlds largest collection (in my estimation) of stuffed animals and a huge collection of books (and their required shelves.) Plus I really loved my pretty green carpet. They bagged up all my knick knacks and brickabrack into trash bags and stored it all in my closet, did the mattress thing, got me new pillows...but the carpet stayed. Mom just made me clean it more often. Then it was a waiting game to see if the aggressive allergy shot treatments would help. It did. Nowadays I wish I could skip back in time to when we built this house so I could push for hardwood floors instead of the cheap carpeting we settled for instead.

So where was I? LOL Oh yes. Get the pergo!!

Kiva said...

I agree. I've taken all the new fangled meds and benadryl still works better than anything else! We put wood flooring in our bedroom and got a Tempurpedic mattress. That works wonders for bedtime. During the day, it is all noses for themselves.

Bea said...

I'm agreeing with your previous commenters... as well, an air cleaner, especially the ionic kind, might help. I have a friend who replaced her carpet floors with wood floors, replaced her spring mattress with a Tempurpedic mattress (she raves about it), and bought the ionic air cleaner. Dust mites can cause much misery. She swears her life is much better now.