If you live in Central Texas, you know the malady of which I speak. Itchy eyes, runny nose and a head full of ... stuff. Generally speaking, it starts in February, gets really bad in April and dies down in May. This year, however, it got started early. Due to a drought and mild winter (sorry Michigan folks), we've been treated to clouds of cedar pollen a month early and with a serious vengeance.
The last two weeks have been hell. We've had record cedar counts. And when I mean record, I mean the highest in a decade. One day, the count was over 18,000 grains per cubic meter. A high count for cedar pollen is considered from 90-1499 grains per cubic meter and very high is anything over 1500. So, needless to say, that day, at least around where the sample was collected, was pretty damn awful.
For two weeks running, we've had counts in the high or very high range. What this means for me is sneezing and irritated eyes. Unpleasant but with a daily dose of Claritin, I'm okay. The spouse creature is altogether a different animal. He has suffered from cedar fever for just about as long as I've known him. Every winter and spring, he's miserable. And like many men, he's so grumpy and irritable you'd think he was gonna die. In his defense, he sometimes sneezes so hard with this crap that I'm afraid for his brain cells. Or my life if it happens when he's driving. Whee!
It's really hard to describe it if you haven't lived through it. I often feel like I'd really like to be able to remove my eyeballs and dunk them in some cool saline solution. They get so itchy and irritated that it's just a misery. Top that off with sneezing fits and alternatively stuffy and runny sinuses and you have the general idea.
Central Texas is called the allergy capital of the world. It's in no small part due to the annual cedar fever follies, but we also have year round mold with the occasional weed and grass pollen tossed in to keep things interesting.
Being an immunologist/allergist here is guaranteed steady work.