Yay for spring! Boo for allergies. I swear I’m only surviving because of Claritin. I planted blueberries yesterday, but by the end of the day I felt like a giant phlegm monster.
It surprises me that so many people suffer from allergies and yet so few people understand what an allergic reaction is. Knowing this is important because it may change how you respond to your symptoms.
Last year, I started to get my persistent sore throat just like every spring. Like every spring, I groaned and went to the store to pick up some Claritin.
I started taking 24-hour antihistamine tablets (Loratadine). Stupid move….
After taking the allergy medication for a while, I ended up with a racking chest cough, a terrible case of congestion and absolutely no energy.
Allergies, put very simply, are caused by your immune system overreacting. It boots itself into overdrive and produces histamines which trigger the immune system’s inflammatory response. Hay Fever is just the immune system inflaming your nasal passages, which causes all those nasty responses we associate with blooming trees and increased pollen in the air.
To combat this unpleasantness, antihistamines inhibit histamines, or basically suppress part of your body’s natural immune system response.
If what you have is a real illness, and not the overreaction of your immune system, the last thing you want to do is slow your immune response.
I knew all this going in. I just made a mistake in diagnosing my symptoms. However, the case still remains that when I should have been stocking up on orange juice and kleenex, I took the allergy medication. I usually have an extremely strong immune system, but all I did was prevent it from doing it’s job.
Believe me, when you’re lying on the couch feeling miserably sick, knowing you may be partly responsible only increases the misery.