Alaskan plants

Hay Fever

According to the OED, the first written use of “hay fever” was in 1835, and it is defined as “a disorder of the early summer, characterized by a catarrhal condition of the ocular, nasal, and respiratory membranes, accompanied generally by asthmatic symptoms, usually caused by the pollen of grasses and some flowers, sometimes by the dust of other substances or the odorous emanations of some fruits and animals.” (I love the way they put things, so I gave the whole definition here!) I looked it up because my hay fever has been really bad this summer.


I’ve always had hay fever. Sneezing and itchy eyes is just a sign of summer to me. I’ve taken most allergy medicines over my lifetime, changing every now and then as my body gets used to the latest one and it’s time to switch it up. I had a scratch test when I was young, where they prick your skin and deposit extracts on your back to see which things cause a reaction. My back had red dots all over it, and the doctor pronounced I was allergic to every plant in Alaska.


This year, under current conditions, the plants seem to be pollinating even more than usual. I’ve switched medications a couple times already, trying to find the best combination of chemicals that will shut down my body’s reaction to the histamines. Right now, nothing seems to work, and I’ve developed a sinus infection on top of it. So my days are filled with congestion, a raw throat, and sinus headaches. Gardening is out of the question–the weeds can take over this summer. It’s hard to focus and get things accomplished when I cough every time I talk and my head throbs. But I guess that’s the price for living in Alaska. It’s one I’ll pay, but I can’t say I’m enjoying it either. Maybe we’ll get a good rain or something so I can get a break soon.


Hoping your summer is a fun one, without hay fever!

I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.