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Lungs with pollen and other allergens blowing by.

Allergy Season

Are you an allergy sufferer? Have you been your entire life or did it start after your lung cancer diagnosis? I spent 54 years of life with absolutely no type(s) of allergies. I never had trouble from pollen. I never had trouble with things “floating” in the air. I never had a problem with dust. Then lung cancer hit me.

Spring is in the air

I live one-quarter of a mile from Lake Erie. That fact by itself causes me all types of issues. The humidity is much higher. During various times of the year, different insects swarm upon us and the smell of algae sometimes is overwhelming. You do not have to live near the water to suffer from “new” allergies. When I visit my hometown in Virginia, the dryness of the air has a negative effect on my breathing. Depending on where you live may have a direct correlation on how you feel.

The past few weeks little white things have been floating in our air, sometimes, covering your car with a light layer. I thought it was from weeds. But no — Ohio coastline has Cottonwood trees and this time of air little flakes of cotton fly around so bad you would think it was a light snow shower. This caused me to have a runny nose for over two weeks.

In about another week or so, we will be attacked by the Canadian Solder (midges) and that will make me feel like someone is sitting on my chest with additional tightness. These little creatures lay eggs in Lake Erie and around the beginning of summer they all hatch and go south.

Listen to your body

The moral of this story is no matter where you live, you will have environmental stressors that may make your breathing more difficult. Be aware of when you have symptoms and treat accordingly. There are many non-drowsy allergy medications available over the counter but do NOT use them without speaking to your oncologist first. Make sure you truly did not catch a cold and that it is allergies. Once you have made this determination, you can treat yourself and go about your daily affairs. Medication, creams, nasal mists and possibly a slight change in your behavior may be all that is needed to help you feel better.

In the summer, Ohio can have a heat index of over 100. I call that my “heat allergy.” All those who live in very hot climates know that just walking out into the heat can have negative effects on your breathing. I call it my heat allergy because the heat causes me to sweat so bad that my rash from my treatment gets worse. The key is to know what effects you and how to overcome it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • SharonWalker
    8 months ago

    I have asthma and chronic bronchitis in addition to cancer. I’ve been sensitive to pollen for years and treated for it . Cottonwood is one of the allergens that really puts me down. I live on Rocky Mountain Front so spring is not yet in full swing but the pollen levels have been very high for this time of year. Started with eyes constantly flooding, the sinus congestion. AS of today, i have been coughing so hard like croupy child for past 24 hours that my ribs, muscles of chest, side and abdomin ache so bad just normal breathing, and this is just April! Having tried everything docs suggested for allergies and sinus and bronchitis, l saw doc today. And what did he tell me? Has been 4 years since dx with lung cancer for which there is no treatment, this is very likely your ‘NEW NORMAL’ due to chronic lung disease’. I just never thought a out allergy season hitting me earlier and harder than ever before because of addition of lung cancer. Glad you brought this up.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    8 months ago

    @sharonwalker Wow new normal indeed. When the body is so comprised from so many areas, it pays not to take anything for granted, ask, question and be careful. Best!

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