Growing up, Seinfeld was a constant on the family TV set each evening. Apart from The Simpsons, there was no other show that was guaranteed to have the whole family keeling over in hysterics. Even my mum’s usual objections to things even remotely crass were no match when faced with its characters. From Kramer’s bombastic physicality, to George’s awkward neuroticism, it was champagne comedy at its finest.
If you were also a fan, you might remember that the show began and ended with excerpts from Jerry’s stand up gigs, the jokes always tying in with some event that occurred during that episode. One observation of Jerry’s that stood out was when he questioned the purpose and function of body odour. “Do something good: hard work, exercise; smell very bad.” Allergies seem a bit like this to me.
Cuddle up with your favourite furry friend: score some itchy eyes. Breathe in the fragrant scents of rebirth that spring brings: cue your nose running like a tap.
Not all of us will respond to allergy triggers like pollen, animal dander and dust mites with an allergic reaction. However, the gilded Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has found it affects up to 1 in 5 Australians so it’s worth knowing what to look out for. Particularly because it can really impact your quality of life. Something to be conscious of is that symptoms for airborne allergies are pretty similar to a cold:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy and/or watery eyes
Potential giveaways that it's allergies you’re suffering from and not a cold will be:
- The immediacy. Typically all the symptoms will strike at once.
- The longevity. Colds typically won't last any longer than a week or two. Allergies, on the other hand, will just keep rolling on into the weeks or months so long as the triggers are present.
- The time of year. Colds typically flare up in winter, whereas seasonal allergies are more common during spring and autumn. This is because the pollen counts go through the roof at this time. Indoor allergies can rage all year round.
If you’re sneezing your way through this article, your glassy eyes struggling to focus, thinking, “I’m that 1 in 5, help me!”, never fear! You can minimise the triggers through basic hygiene around the home. Regular vacuuming and keeping the humidity low, preferably below 55%, will help to keep the dust mites and mould spores down. This will go a long way to helping you breathe easier.
Pets are a little more complicated. If you already know you're prone to allergies, avoid pets with fur. Consider creatures who are shelled and scaled.
If you find that you’re reacting to your furry friend, funnily enough, it’s actually not the fur itself, it’s the proteins found in animals dander. Dander equals dead skin cells, saliva and urine. You might be thinking, “I don’t wallow in my pet’s refuse!” Maybe so but your pet is licking itself and then you pat it, rub your eyes and voilà. Hygiene and cleanliness is going to play a big part here again in warding off allergic reactions. Keep your pet clean, wash your hands and even keep certain zones of the house pet free, particularly the bedroom.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s all well and good for the indoor allergic folk but what are the seasonally allergic to do? It’s not like you can just skip out on autumn or wash your hands of spring.
This is where our friend Claratyne comes into play. Rather than simply trying to avoid allergy triggers, you can use Claratyne to help your immune system’s reaction to any allergens.
The word cascade conjures for me gorgeous scenes of crystalline waters tumbling down terraced waterfalls. Sadly, in the case of allergies, when an allergen enters the body via breath or touch, it kicks off its own kind of allergic cascade, which is far less idyllic.
Your immune system, the body's defense against unwanted foreign objects, releases this stuff called histamine. This isn’t such a problem, unless you’re allergic. If you’re allergic then that release of histamine is turbo charged. An allergic body reacts as though it were hosting a party and an unwelcome guest arrives, prompting an immediate overreaction, beating the guest up, rather than pleasantly asking them to leave, like a less allergy susceptible body might. Histamine attaches to blood vessels and receptors in your nasal passages, causing swelling. Hence the itching and runny nose.
Claratyne contains antihistamines, which work by blocking your receptors and not letting all that excess histamine get to its target, resulting in less inflammation. Meaning, you don’t have to be such a snotty, glassy-eyed mess just because it’s windy and there’s a bunch of pollen flying around. Your body can behave more like the gracious host you wish it would when those unwanted guests turn up. Claratyne is also available in lots of different forms, with fantastic options for kids too.
Now this Claratyne is great stuff for reducing your symptoms of allergies but it’s still recommended that you minimise your exposure to the triggers in the first place. Sorry if you were planning on doing some backstroke through a big pile of leaf litter. I’m sure there was a commercial where an allergy sufferer poured their grass cutting from the mower over their head. Not recommended.
Furthermore, if your symptoms are particularly severe it is always worth consulting your doctor. You can work with them to identify what might be triggering either your own or your child’s allergic responses. Knowing the causes will help you to better avoid them in the future.
Claratyne, in combination with minimising exposure to allergic triggers, can allow you to better enjoy the shifting seasons. Now they just need to come up with a way to make our body odour smell good. This way we can hang a dirty sock from our rear view mirror, just like Jerry Seinfeld dreamt of.
Floyd - Senior Pharmacist