Seasonal Allergies

The Dog Days of Christmas

There’s nothing quite like the Yuletide season. It features great food, family and fun. Since the first often accompanies the other two, I do my best to keep in shape during the Holiday Season. When you think about it, what better time to go jogging in the evening? Aside from burning off those (many) excess calories, it gives a person the opportunity to take in the Holiday atmosphere. Since it gets dark early this time of year, one can experience the full effect of the Christmas lights.

That’s what I did this past weekend. While frost bite becomes a major concern for joggers in the waning days of autumn, this time I faced a more familiar adversary from the summer: dehydration. You read that right: dehydration. Keep in mind I live in the Philadelphia area: not in Australia. A balmy haze settled over town last week. The dew point reached August-like proportions. Upon returning home, the profuse sweat made me look like I’d just gotten out of the shower. Santa wouldn’t need his thick red and white suit this year…or would he?

Several days later the temperature dipped into the upper fifties. It rained. And rained. And then it rained some more. By the weekend, the temperature plummeted into the more seasonal upper-thirties. A lot of people would get sick in this weather. I’m sure lucky I run and keep in shape so I don’t come down with anything for the Holidays, right? Not so.

They call New Jersey “the Garden State” for a reason. I’ve battled allergies my entire life. That’s another reason I like to run. It helps to break-up my congestion. It also acclimatizes me to the weather. Wild temperature swings aggravate my allergies more than anything else. When precipitation is involved, they get even worse. Most times, I handle these fluctuations without any problems. The fifty degree changes in the course of a day or two, I can’t. Not for the first time this season, I found myself visiting my neighborhood urgent care center for sinusitis.

Sudden bursts of unseasonal warm weather confuse my sinuses. They think it’s the height of August ragweed season. The back of my throat feels like a handful of newly mown grass clumped there. My voice has been so raspy from coughing that it sounds like a cross between Bruce Springsteen’s and Tom Waits’. I’ve had several sneezing fits that lasted for minutes. This can be troublesome especially while eating. (I guess that explains why I’ve been dining alone these past few days.)

I know I shouldn’t complain. There are far worse sinus related issues one could have. My great-grandmother passed away from carcinoma of the sinuses. (Even with this family history and my own allergy issues, I still smoked like an idiot in my youth.) Besides, thanks to the immediate access to medical attention the urgent care center provides, I’ve been able to do most of my regular routine. Without their assistance, I would’ve been confined to bed for days.

As I’m writing this, it’s 39 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I checked the latest weather forecast. We’re getting more rain next week. On Christmas Eve the temperature will rise into the mid-seventies. Christmas Day it’s going to “cool off” to a more modest 60 degrees. This tells me two things. 1) I’ll probably be having Christmas Dinner with the folks at the urgent care center. 2) For those wondering what to get me: tissues and decongestants would be good choices.

While I prefer warmer weather, I’m actually looking forward to winter. I’m not excited about another muggy warm spell. I’ve had enough of the Dog Days of Christmas.