1. Prolonged and violent sneezing in the mornings for about an hour, beginning mid-to-late February.
2. Sensation as if a small Sputnik satellite was lodged in one nostril.
3. Same nostril constantly running.
4. Cloth handkerchiefs all washed, ironed, and strategically placed throughout the house, and in pockets, purse and car, because paper tissues for this purpose are too expensive and impractical.
5. Itchy eyes, and a belief lasting about two days that it’s merely my powder eyeshadow.
8. Utter exhaustion in midafternoon.
9. Nose blown until it’s red.
10. Coughing up what feels like car parts, lasting most of March.
11. If I’m too cocky or luck is bad, bedridden for two or three weeks with crippling flulike sensation of having been beaten up with a baseball bat, with inability to eat anything but Rice Chex with rice milk, and me to miss Mardi Gras and the first few Lenten fish fries and all the rest of life, followed by three weeks of coughing up car parts and all my own bones.
1. On or around February 18, begin daily dose of Loratidine (generic form of Claritin), taken at night to minimize violent morning sneezing; continue through November. They say if you take it before the season “really” begins you can squelch your histamines before they act up. [Note, from the above Weather Channel Chart, that measurable airborne allergens began floating up our noses on January 27.]2. At first sign of hayfever take heaping tablespoons of locally-farmed honey, straight from the spoon: one tablespoon each day for seven days. (This seems to reduce symptoms by about 20 percent.)
3. Wash bedding; vacuum carpets.
4. Wear paper mask outside.
5. Monitor pollen forecasts and numbers.
6. Shower and shampoo after time outdoors.
7. Consume Cold-Eez zinc cold-prevention tablets.
8. Close doors and windows.
9. Start portable air filters.
10. Hot compresses on swollen sinuses.
11. Garlic broth.
12. Early bedtime and late rising.
13. At the Black Madonna of Czestochowa Shrine, dunk my whole head in its miraculous spring and breathe its water up through my nose. This plus prayer eased symptoms for about four days.