Sunday, March 23, 2014

Very true: Hay fever: nothing to sneeze at | The Japan Times

Hay fever: nothing to sneeze at | The Japan Times

You know about kafunshou season by now.  Hay fever.  It starts in February and lasts through March, maybe into April.  I suppose it depends on where you live.  I never had much trouble with it when I lived downtown, but now that I'm on the north side of the city, way out near the mountains, I have some major sinus problems when the pollen wafts from the cedar trees.

Last year was my first experience with severe kafunshou.  And let me tell you-- it wrecked my life for days on end.  There are certainly worse chronic illnesses to have.  Kafunshou won't kill you unless you have a sneezing fit while driving and run off the road headfirst into a tree, or cross the center line into oncoming traffic.  But imagine having every symptom expect fever of a severe cold for more than a month.  Going without sleep.  Going without breath.

Last year, it felt as if someone had plugged my nostrils with chalk dust.  Probably from breathing in actual chalk dust in the classroom.  From inside my nose came a fine, powdery irritation.  A constant itching that sometimes intensified to burning.  At times I'd sneeze eight, nine, ten blasts in a row and give up counting as it continued, seemingly with no end.  There would also be hours spent with the feeling I had a tennis ball surgically inserted just inside my skull, pressing constantly on my sinuses.  A round pressure from within.  Antihistamines and decongestants at night allowed me to sleep for two or three fitful hours, only to wake up, sneeze once, and fall back asleep.  Sometimes I'd go through the next day with an over-the-counter medication hangover.

Eventually, I received a prescription for some anti-allergy pills and I slowly regained control over my nose.  As spring passed into summer, I began breathing normally.  Never was I so glad for the onset of rainy season.

This year, we saw a commercial for some kind of capsule that promises twelve hours of relief.  I don't know its name.  It comes in a red and white box.  It has made a huge difference.  I still have a bit of a runny nose, especially when eating hot food, and the occasional sneeze.  The medication makes me feel just a bit muzzy.  But at least I'm breathing.  That more than makes up for any side effects.  Passing through kafunshou season without having to resort to a mask.

Imagine that!

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