No Cure for My Seasonal Allergies
Sunday September 16th 2007, 10:31 am

Our days of summer, which are much too short, are coming to an end, and along with that our days at the cottage. I know we have about a week left of summer, and four or five weekends left of going to the cottage, but the realization of the end of summer is here. I love this time of year, except for my seasonal allergies which are driving me crazy. Even the allergy medications which state they cause no drowsiness, make me sleepy. The one which causes the least problems for me is Aerius. This medication isn’t as effective in reducing the hay fever symptoms, and it still leaves me slightly drowsy, which is a feeling I don’t like. I use the nasal spray, Nasacort, which is as good as Aerius and doesn’t have any side effects. After using it, I still sneeze, but less frequently. As I am sitting here in front of my computer, it feels like I have a sinus cold. As soon as I am finished writing this, I plan on going outside to get some fresh air so I can hopefully breathe better.

Years ago the peak of my hay fever symptoms was the Labour Day weekend. It lasted only about a week then, but now it starts later in September and lasts much longer. I had allergy testing done about thirty years ago and was told that I was allergic to goldenrod. I was also told that there was no ragweed in Nova Scotia so I wasn’t tested for that. Goldenrod is a yellow weed which grows in the late summer in fields and along roadsides here in Nova Scotia. The fields around our cottage are loaded with it. The type we have in abundance here is called Canada Goldenrod and looks very different from goldenrod in other parts of the world.

I googled goldenrod today and was surprised to discover that goldenrod is unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans because it’s pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers. Apparently the pollen causing the allergy problems is ragweed. But I always thought there was no ragweed in Nova Scotia. Was I wrongly informed all these years? I did more research and discovered that indeed years ago there was just a little ragweed in Nova Scotia in the Annapolis Valley area. In this small area there were hay fever effects from August 15 to September 1 only. There are now three species of ragweed which are in all parts of Nova Scotia.

This information explains why I used to suffer from hay fever for only a short period of time around the first of September. We used to go camping every Labour Day weekend in the Annapolis Valley, so I was close to the only area at that time which had ragweed. Apparently 75% of hay fever is caused by ragweed, and based on what I now know, it isn’t the goldenrod which is bothering me, it is ragweed. Who knew? The problem is I know what goldenrod looks like, but I don’t know what ragweed looks like. I may have some in my own backyard and not even know it.

I can’t get rid of it, I can’t cure it, so I have to live with it for a few weeks every year. The good thing is I don’t think it will kill me.

Have a great end of summer day,
Anne