Itchy eyes. Endless sneezing. Scratchy throat. Irritated ears. Troubled breathing. And now, you can add “neglected blog” to my growing list of allergy symptoms.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this year’s allergy season is hitting me so hard. I can hardly remember having any difficulties last year! What’s going on this year? Has the weather really messed up the plants and trees so much that their pollen output is going haywire? Maybe the air has more impurities, making things that much worse for allergy sufferers. Could it be that my backyard is somehow suddenly hiding an invisible forest of the maples, oaks, and birches?
It wasn’t until I spent some allergy-induced downtime organizing my old photo files that I realized the answer. It’s not that the season this year is worse—it’s that I have no point of comparison. See, last year around this time, I was somewhere else. Somewhere far enough from all the kinds of pollen that affect me.
So even when I was visiting the house where I grew up, with greenery everywhere, I was fine. We still have all kinds of fruit trees growing: coconut, mango, guava, avocado, duhat, banana, atis, kaymito or sugar apple, chico or sapodilla. The grass was lush, the breeze was blowing, and not a runny nose in sight.
And Manila is a city with construction going on everywhere. Dust was flying, tiny debris falling from great heights, fumes from diesel-powered machinery … but the only thing that bothered my eyes was the bright sunlight.
I went sight-seeing by the Pasig River, which is arguably one of the most polluted rivers I’ve seen. There was junk floating on the river, the stifling smell of water-logged garbage … but I never had to touch my inhaler.
My cousin took me to visit one of the oldest structures in the country dating back to 1599, and it smelled every bit from the 16th century. It was musty, and I’m sure it wasn’t mold-free. The old stone smelled damp, high ledges were dusty, and there were rooms and hallways that could have used some fresh air. Not once did I feel the need to stifle a cough.
So, here’s my smart idea. And I just want to say, for the record, that this is purely in the interest of research into proven methods of immunotherapy. I’m thinking that from now on, before allergy season hits, I need to relocate temporarily.
All those in favor, raise your hand.