alt=a woman with a red, irritated nose coughs in bed with tissues strewn around her

Some Ways Allergies Impact My Life

Last updated: January 2023

As far back as I can remember, I have suffered from allergies. Enduring year-round symptoms have become a part of my life. On my better days, I have a runny, stuffy nose, watery eyes, and post-nasal drip. My worst days are marked by sinus migraines and asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing.

Most people act as if allergies aren't a big deal-no matter how much I sneeze or sniffle in front of them. As they try not to giggle, they ask, "You have an allergy? Take an antihistamine, and you'll be fine." If only it were that simple.

The impact of allergies in the United States

According to the Allergy and Asthma Network (AAN), 1 in 5 Americans has been diagnosed with allergies. That comes out to over 50 million people. AAN also reports that more than 50 percent of people with allergies say it impacts their daily quality of life.1

My allergies affect many of my daily activities and will impact my future plans in a way that people without allergies might not understand.

Some daily challenges of living with allergies

As far as my daily activities are concerned, I may wake up with a sinus headache that keeps me in bed a bit longer than I'd like. In the middle of the night, I often wake up with a stuffy or runny nose.

Medicines to control symptoms

Daily nasal rinses (not my favorite) and nasal sprays that burn are part of my daily routine. I use over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. I can only pick up some decongestants when the pharmacy is open because they are kept behind the pharmacy counter. In the midst of COVID-19, allergy medicines were nowhere to be found, so I lived without them. In some cases, allergy medication makes me tired and loopy; in others, it gets me all revved up. Additionally, these medicines are expensive when taken daily.

My experience with immunotherapy

My allergies to cats, dogs, and dust mites were treated with immunotherapy for several years. My dog and dust mite allergies were successfully treated, but my cat allergy was unsuccessful. I'm so allergic to cats that I can't visit friends and family with cats.

Feeling embarrassed

A few years ago, I had to leave a Christmas party early because the host had 3 cats. Despite the cats being put away in a bedroom during the party, cat dander is sticky and can be found on walls, cabinets, and furniture throughout the house. After only 20 minutes in the house, I started having allergy and asthma symptoms. The fact that I was not able to attend my friends' party was both embarrassing and disappointing.

Allergies are a factor in decisions

My allergies are always a consideration when making future plans. I was invited to attend a conference in St. Louis. The 2 people selected from each state were honored to be invited. The only problem is that my allergies have caused me to have a miserable time in St. Louis before.

My sinus headaches, blocked nose, and asthma symptoms were constant. I didn't want to travel so far to be miserable due to my allergies the entire time. Also, I didn't want a brain fog caused by allergy medication to distract me from the conference. To attend the conference, I compromised by not leaving the hotel where it was held. To avoid allergy symptoms, I skipped the sightseeing and dining out with colleagues. Additionally, it's always embarrassing when you spend the entire dinner sniffling and blowing your nose.

How do living allergies impact your daily life? Share in the comments below.

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