Sunday, February 1, 2015

Feb 1st Quick Update and Q+A

Hi guys.  I do seem to be getting a bit more questions to answer, thanks!  Now I wish I could come up with my own ideas of what to write too!

This time of year, my allergies aren't as bad as the rest of the year so I try to get as much work done as possible.  Depending on the weather, I'll have from somewhere near the end of this month to somewhere in the middle of march before they start getting worse again.  My allergies still bother me, but they are somewhat easier to deal with in the winter, especially Jan and Feb.

Now for our Q+A:

Q: You said that sleeping is a problem for you when your allergies are bad. If you could get rid of one allergy symptom during bedtime, which one would you prefer to get rid of?
A: That's a hard choice between sneezing and congestion.  When my allergies are bad, sneezing so often makes it hard to have enough time to get to sleep.  Overall I'd have to say congestions though.  Even when my allergies aren't that bad, the congestion is still there, making it a bit uncomfortable to sleep.

Q: I learned from your posts that five of your senses are more or less impacted by your allergies: seeing (watery eyes), hearing (stuffed ears), smelling (congested nose), tasting (going along with smelling) and the sense of balance (dizziness from clogged ears or sinus congestion). Which sense would you consider being impacted the most (well, I'd guess it's the smelling), and which one comes second, third, fourth, fifth?
A: Smelling of course is first, as its not often that I am able to smell anything at all.  Taste would be second because it is so dependent upon smell to work properly.  Seeing would be third.  Its a big jump down though, as its only really impacted when my allergies are acting up enough to make my eyes so watery that it makes my vision a bit blurry.  Of course sometimes I wake up with my eyelids crusted up together and I can't see, but that's because I can't open my eyelids.  I try not to rub my eyes much, but if I rub them a lot, they might swell up too much and make it hard to see.  Dizziness would be the next one, as my sinus congestion has to be pretty bad for me to feel it as dizziness(unless I move my head really fast), and my ears only get clogged and make me dizzy when things are really bad.  last would be hearing, as my allergies have to be really bad for my ears to feel clogged.  Its not like I am deaf, but it is like I have cotton stuffed in my ears.

Q: How do you deal with your sneezing when you have your hair cut at the hairdresser, esp when your allergies are bad? Does the hairdresser have to interrupt his work every time you sneeze?
A:  I can't really go to a hairdresser, as some of the chemicals and compounds, and hair products there I am allergic to. I'll try to get friends to cut my hair, or find a place that doesn't use many chemicals, etc.   If I am having a sneezing fit, yea there needs to be a break in the work til I am done.

Q: Do you like to dance, in the disco or at parties? If yes, how much do your allergies affect your joy of dancing?
A: I am an ok dancer, but it has never been something that excites me too much.  Allergies don't seem to impact my dancing at parties any more than they impact everything else.

Q: I've read that it's possible to improve allergies, esp hay fever, by avoiding certain kinds of food, e.g. those with protein. Did you try things like this, and if yes, was it successful?
A: I have tried all kinds of things, and foods seem to have no impact at all on my allergies.  Alcohol sometimes seems to make my allergies worse though.

Q: A woman suffering from hay fever told me that autohemotherapy helped her. Did you try this?
A: I never heard of it.  What is it?  Does it go by another name?

Q: In 2010 you posted comprehensive lists of what you're allergic to and what symptoms you get. Are these lists still „valid“, or has something changed since then?
A: Without going back to look, I am pretty sure they are the same.  If anything I might have discovered one or 2 more things, as I seem to be allergic to almost everything.

Q: You said that if you could get rid of one allergy symptome, it would be the sneezing because it affects your social life and your acitivies most. If you leave aside these aspects and just consider the symptoms as such, the physical pain they bring when you're alone and not doing something specific, which one would you choose then?
It would make it a closer choice between sneezing and congestion.  With those limitations, I can't really choose between the 2.

Q: A question about the questions: It seems to me that you really like to answer all these questions. Can you explain what it is that makes you enjoy this so much?
A: "enjoy" is too strong a word.  Having questions to answer actually gives me something to write about.  I want to keep doing this blog, but I have huge blocks on what to write about.  Questions gives me things to write about.

Q: What do you do or say when you are meeting people for the first time or over the phone and your allergies act up?
A: Over the phone I just say 'hold on a min' and I mute the phone and get through the allergy fit.  In person, if I can, I'll say 'ill be back in a min' or 'I need to use the bathroom' or something.  If I am stuck there, I won't say anything, hoping the person also wont say anything.

Q: What do you do for work and have your allergies affected you there, or how people respond to you?
A: I do TAing and assist with research (I am a grad student).  Luckily when my allergies get bad, the TAing can be modified so I don't have to do much actual teaching, I'll do prep and all the paperwork and such.  For the research, sometimes I have to just not do the work for a while.  Most people haven't responded that badly, although it sometimes takes some accommodations, make-up stuff, and a few times I just have to do what I can.  There was another research assistant that didn't like me (he was too competitive and jealous of what I was doing I think), and kept making fun of my allergies and tried to use the impact of my allergies as an excuse to get me kicked out. 

Q: Do you seem to get them(colds) frequently? I know that for some allergy sufferers, they find they seem to be more susceptible to colds too.
A:  I only get a couple a year.  Not more often than anyone else I think. 

Q: I know you've talked the past a bit about school and how sometimes you have to miss class because of your allergies. But when you do stay in the classroom and have to suffer through an attack, how do the professors and other students react? Are they generally understanding? Do they just ignore it or make comments? I know you've also said you try to escape to the restroom when it gets bad, but that can't be every time you have a bit of sneezing fit??
I feel like this needs more of an answer than I can write down real quick here, but in general, the reactions can be all over the place.  Usually the professor will ignore it, and a few students might laugh or say something silly. 

Thanks for all the questions.  let me know if anything wasn't clear or if you need more info.  As always, feel free to post more questions, or contact me directly.

And enjoy the superbowl!


  1. When you do teach, does the sneezing make it difficult? And how do your students react? Can you go into more details about your response to the last question you answered about during class?

  2. I think it's great that you and Allison found each other and she helps you feel comfortable with her! Did you have some sort of discussion about how to work things out with your allergies, things to do or not do, expectations regarding them and intimacy, etc?