This is a picture of my favorite tissue box design EVER. It made me smile when I felt my yuckiest with the flu or creeping crud – whatever it was I had last winter. And it’s a great lead-in to this week’s Friday Five!

MaryBeth of RevGalBlogPals writes:

Hello, my name is Mary Beth, and I’m allergic to ligustrum.

Ligustrum is a type of privet hedge and it is very invasive. VERY. It’s a spready green bush with leaves of various sizes and tiny white flowers of a head-piercing sweetness.

The house I grew up in had 14-foot ligustrum bushes on three sides. The house I live in now, 250 miles to the north, also has several…they are a different variety but the flowers still get me. Instant sinus attack, that’s what these are. And: they are in bloom.

You can remove them, but they grow back. Forever and ever. My husband recently had his helper cut all the blooming branches off of this one, next to where I park my car. What a guy!

So, thinking about allergies:

1. Do you experience any seasonal allergies? Are you allergic to anything else? Sadly, yes. I pretty much start allergy season when the trees pop, and it doesn’t let up until after the first killing frost. However, then there’s leaf mold when everything is dried up, dead and gone. I’m on antihistamines year-round. It is what it is. I also react to strong perfumes, certain kinds of flowers, and specific foods (sadly, among my favorites — the mango family!) There are instances where I have had to leave a church service, Metro car, movie theatre, or move to a different seat because someone had on “eau du asthma” on in such great quantities that I could not breathe.

2. What kinds of symptoms do you experience during your allergic reactions? Symptoms?  CoughHackSneezeChokeWheezeItchItchScratchScratchHonkHonk… What? Oh. Yes. All of the above. The worst is that feeling of chest tightness and shortness of breath because of someone’s perfume.

3. How do you manage your allergies? (ie: medication, avoidance, alternative therapies, etc)  I tried the naturopathic route and was just as miserable and snuffly. I’ve tried the Neti pot, bee pollen, little white “natural” remedies from the health food store, cutting out wheat and dairy. Nothing made a difference. Now I use an antihistamine daily (yes. year-round!) and have an array of symptom relief when I can’t stand it any more. Breathing and sleeping are not optional. One of the biggest helps has been our use of stand-alone air purifiers. We use them throughout the house to help filter out the dust, mold, pollen, etc. They also make a nice “white noise” for sleeping. 😉

4. What is the strangest allergy you’ve ever heard of?  I had a college friend who was allergic to the sun. She literally broke out in hives!

5. How do you feel about school and social policies that banning peanuts and other allergens? I really do understand the issue with severe allergies. I don’t think there is a way to ban them all. If they could, then I would not be close to bronchospasm just walking through a department store, or using a bathroom in a public space with one of those “de-stinko-meters”. I would love to give people a sense of what it feels like to feel your throat tighten and your head begin to pound because of an environmental allergy… perhaps then there would be more compassion and acceptance. (When I ask you NOT to wear perfume around me, it really is because it could make me sick!)

Food allergies, however, are another story. They should be easier to avoid. I don’t think it is fair to “ban” then outright. Manufacturers and vendors need to be up front on the cleanliness and sanitation of their kitchens. One of our local grocery stores has a ‘peanut and nut free’ kitchen so I can safely buy their products for my allergic guests. Packaged foods which are gluten-free need to be upfront about possible cross-contamination. And other potential allergens and their by-products (like dairy, for instance) need to be clearly spelled out in the labels.

I know that “peanut-free zones” are possible on airlines and in schools. When our kids were in elementary school, there were a couple of tables which were designated for that. We even had a table for dairy-free lunches too. You can’t ban everything. But you can teach people how to be considerate and responsible! Also a comment about peanut allergies — for some people, the true trigger is not the peanuts, but the mold! Peanuts are notorious for having a light bit of mold on the shells. It’s a by-product of how they are harvested and stored.

A final thought for those of us who preside at Communion tables… it is important to offer gluten-free alternatives so that everyone can partake! Ener-G makes gluten-free wafers. And many stores now carry a kind of gluten-free bread that can be used. When we say “everyone is welcome at the Table” we need to demonstrate that with clear affirmation and understanding of allergies!

One comment

C'mon. Say something! But play nice. All comments are moderated.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.