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Death by allergies

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Last spring, I thought the most menacing bodily crisis that I would encounter as a result of the Stanford ecosystem was the rash I got from the caterpillars that swung from low-hanging branches and assaulted passersby like “Mission Impossible” operatives dangling from grappling hooks.

This year, my worst enemy takes the form of a thick, mist-like haze of yellow, straight out of a TS Eliot poem. It creeps around the parts of campus that are more densely populated with plant life throughout the day in light puffs, carried by the wind. Overnight, it settles into a thin, powdery coat: It is pollen.

Sitting on outdoor benches smears my jeans in the same dusty yellow that coats every windshield, bike seat or anything with some form of surface area in sight.

I wake up in the morning with a terrible itch dancing up the tube of my throat and my eyes so swollen that it takes immense strength for my eyelid muscles to force them open. I get out of bed wondering exactly how red they will get throughout the course of the day on a scale of rosy pink to ghastly, bloodshot crimson.

Any claims about Zyrtec being the more “non-drowsy” of the allergy medications are all lies. In class, my head bobs more than a buoy in a turbulent sea, and my eyelids are pulled down by the weight of 1,000 men, who are undoubtedly sniffling and wheezing as much as I am. At least, after the violent barrages of sneezing, I have a series of concerned, uncomfortable, occasionally annoyed looks from my peers to keep me alert throughout class. That, and the constant need to stand up and locate the nearest tissue box so as to clear my nasal passages for the brief, two-second respite before they clog up again.  

Switching over to Allegra has alleviated some of the drowsiness and overall misery — not an advertisement, per se, but I do recommend this one above all other brands. I speak as an allergy medicine connoisseur.

At the end of the day, I just want to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful spring flowers, but unfortunately I must remain indoors so as to protect my lungs and nose and any other body part that might burn or itch or leak snot. Besides, even if I were to venture outside and brave the sore throats and sneezes, my eyes would be too puffed up to see out into the blossoming world anyway.

Someone send me a detailed physical description of the beauty of springtime when you get the chance.

Contact Clara Spars at cspars ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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