Tonawanda News

Columns

April 7, 2013

DUVALL: For allergy sufferers, the battle looms

Tonawanda News — If the meteorologists are correct — a dubious assumption — spring has finally arrived to banish winter. If the number of joggers and dog-walkers on my street in Buffalo is any indication (it’s gone from the wintertime trickle to the spring steady flow and will eventually lead to traffic jams in the bicycle lane on Richmond Avenue), we’re in store for some better weather.

It won’t be long before the distant hum of lawnmowers will be heard far and wide in Western New York. For many the smell of freshly cut grass harkens back to idilic childhood memories.

I like warm weather as much as anybody. And I’m ready to be rid of winter perhaps more than anybody.

But with the warm weather comes a price.

I have terrible allergies. To everything.

I can’t vacuum a carpet without tying a handkerchief or towel around my face. The dust bunnies under my bed would induce a 30 minute sneezing fit if disturbed. 

I can’t mow a lawn without breaking out into hives — literally. I throw down the windows for a day after it a trimming. 

I scoff at all those television commercials for Claritin or Allegra. If they have any effect it’s that of a placebo. I’ve never found a pill that makes much of a difference save Benadryl, but it puts me almost immediately to sleep for two hours. 

When I was a kid my mother took me to an allergist. They tested me for a dozen or so of the most common allergies — pollen, ragweed, dust, etc. Let’s just say I aced the test.

So I read with some measure of cynicism a story in Saturday’s Buffalo News, that Buffalo is ranked the 15th worst city for allergy sufferers. 

Like any good Western New Yorker I am constantly on guard against lists that rank us as the worst something-or-other. We’re perpetually undersampled in virtues (we get more sunshine that most places but all anyone ever thinks about is snow, for example). But some intrepid writer looking to rank America’s fattest cities will make plenty of cracks at our chicken wing consumption.

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