I have hay fever. Lots of people do. When I was last assessed by an allergist, the verdict was that it was only mild to moderately severe, depending. Most people with hay fever are allergic to only a few species or categories of pollen.
I seem to be allergic to every pollen, spore, and mold there is. Which means that in Seattle’s climate, hay fever season runs from mid- February through mid-December. And even longer if we have an especially mild winter.
So during this time of year I have congested sinuses 7 days a week. It would also be sinus headaches 7 days a week if not for my prescription allergic medication. As it is, I have sinus headaches, itchy eyes, and so forth, a couple days out of every week. Usually brought on by an increase in overall pollen count or simply a new species coming into bloom.
In other words, I feel as if I’m coming down with a cold every single day.
Which means I never know I’m sick (and thus possibly contagious) until many days after it starts.
Sunday morning we both had really bad sinus headaches. I’d had severe enough symptoms to require over-the-counter cold tablets on top of my usual meds for three days leading up to Sunday. Sunday was much worse, as there were also body aches and no energy. I kept falling asleep throughout the day. Which meant I was monopolizing the shared washer and dryer downstairs all day, because I was late to swap out loads again and again.
At one point I felt as if my head was horribly sick–all swollen, itchy, and feverish feeling?–while my body had another ailment altogether, achey and cold, oh, so cold. As if I were a member of the species of the king and queen of the moon from Baron Munchhausen with detachable heads.
I don’t know if I’d been able to do anything different if I had known sooner I was sick. But I’d like to think so…