Developing Allergies and How to Deal
Growing up, I loved eating cherries in the summertime. I could comfortably spend the day outdoors in any season (barring weather conditions, of course), and would feel bad for others who suffered congestion, puffiness, and incessant sneezing. The only things I would ‘react’ to were cigarette smoke and bug bites.
One summer day, in the attic apartment I lived in by myself in Rhode Island when I was 22 years old, I ate a cherry. And shortly thereafter, my ears itched, my lips swelled, and my throat started to close. I didn’t immediately connect the symptoms to the cherry as I had never been allergic to anything before, and thought I was dying. After a few hours of brushing my teeth, drinking water, taking antihistamine, phoning my dad, and trying to relax myself, the swelling went down. I had a similar experience this past winter when I was in Thailand with a friend and tried jackfruit.
Last spring, before our move to Seoul, I visited one of my friends in Connecticut for a weekend. And despite the rainfall throughout the week leading up to, and even into, the weekend, I experienced my first and the worst seasonal allergies, and spent the weekend loaded up on over-the-counter medications. This spring, with the combination of pollution, micro dust, and seasonal allergens in Seoul, I’ve visited the doctor more times and taken more prescriptions than I have my whole adult life. The science teacher at the first school I taught at said our bodies change every seven years, and she wasn’t kidding.
Your 20s are for dealing with a lot of things, and one of those unfortunately might be developing allergies. Here are the ways I've learned to deal, from minor to even severe symptoms.
more laundry days
In the fall and winter, I might wear a clothing item a few times before throwing it in the hamper. Not a chance in the spring and summer—after a day out, I'll leave the day's outfit in a contained area and make sure to wash it not too long after.
By washing away the day before bed, I ensure that none of the outdoor residue on my skin or in my hair transfers onto our bedding and smothers me in my sleep. I definitely experience allergy flare-ups when I wait to shower in the morning.
Even with a regular laundry schedule and nightly showers, it's difficult to avoid tracking triggers into your home. Making a habit of tidying up, especially more exposed areas such as entryways and windows, is an extra precaution. Healthy eating and drinking are always good ideas, and nourishing your body in these ways puts it in a better position to fight the elements.
consult a professional
When Andrew or members of my family cough once, I badger them to visit the doctor, but I'll only visit myself after dragging it out and dragging my feet. When I finally did visit, I was prescribed strong medications that treated specific symptoms, as well as a near-infection caused by my allergies. If I had visited the doctor from the onset, I might have saved myself a bit of suffering!