Austin: the Allergy Mini-GameOccasionally one of you guys will write in and ask me about Austin, and I try to give you all the information I can.
Until now, though, I've completely forgotten about one thing: allergies.
Austin is the single worst city in the country for allergies. Most cities have a bad season of allergies. Austin has a bad year. There is no low season. And we get an extra bonus with cedar season in December-February, in addition to fall and spring.
I saw an article last year about the worst cities in the country for allergies, and all metropolitan areas were rated for both fall and spring allergies. Austin was the only city in the top (worst) three for both seasons. I don't think anywhere else was even in the top ten for both seasons.
All in all, it's a disaster. You see people walking around all year (but particularly in winter when "cedar fever" hits) with faces as red as tomatoes. when cedar really gets going in January, the level can go from zero to over 30,000 grains per something or other (500 would be considered "high"). It's just crazy.
I mention this because something must have exploded last Thursday. If I walk outside now, my entire body itches. I can't breathe. My face hurts.
Gloria, too, and it started last Thursday for her as well.
Swimming has actually had a tremendously positive effect on my allergies--I'm light years more resistant than I used to be. Which means that I'm miserable about thirty days a year instead of sixty.
So here's the mini-game part: you can generally take one cortisone shot a year, and it will relieve all your allergy symptoms for four to six weeks. The worst month for allergies in Austin, though, is generally January, because of cedar. So you have to gauge your suffering against the calendar and hold out as long as you can. If you can make it to late December before getting the shot, you're generally golden.
This year, I may not make it that far. If someone could just capture the energy from my sneezing right now, I could light up the entire city.