Now I’m a Believer

Yep… Allergies are Real

By Jeff Salter

Goodness knows, I have several OTHER medical issues, but I never had the curse of ALLERGIES as a kid. [What little I even heard about allergies made them sound distant and esoteric — I don’t recall knowing any kids who had any.] In fact, to my best recollection, all the common plant allergies were lumped into a convenient category, HAY FEVER. And that made little sense to me, because I imagined most people were able to come and go in a typical day without encountering any hay.

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, medicine was an entirely different universe than it is now. Back then even the most ordinary things like decongestants and anti-histamines (and certain ointments) were available only by prescription. [And since no prescriptions were advertised, only the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists knew their names (or what they were for).] Conversely, in that same era there were tons of over-the-counter products which did little or no “good” but were widely used — like Castoria (the more “refined” version of Castor Oil) and Carter’s Little Liver Pills — and (oddly) apparently un-regulated.


One of the very first products I recall seeing advertised (on TV) was the miracle drug CONTAC — it purportedly “cured” colds and hay fever. If you were dying with the flu, those ads seemingly promised that one capsule would enable you to leap from your sick bed and carry on a full day of work and play — and put you in a great mood, to boot. And if you suffered from “hay fever” – whatever that was – this product would cure you as long as you popped another capsule every 12 hours.

Something cleverly overlooked – or more likely HIDDEN – by the advertisers was that CONTAC did not “cure” anything. It was merely a decongestant that temporarily assisted with your ability to breathe. In other words, it merely combated the SYMPTOMS of your illness or condition. That was a distinction lost on me back then… and (evidently) still lost on most of the consumer public even today.

Looking back on it, I suppose CONTAC was the earliest popular OTC daily “maintenance” medicine. Nowadays, daily maintenance drugs seem to be the norm. [Don’t get me started]

Before I digress too far, I was only trying to point out that (as a youngster) I did not experience allergies, didn’t know anybody who had any, and there were NOT 1001 products on the marketplace to combat them.

Then I got married.

Yeah, my wife had allergies. In fact, she came from a whole family of allergies to certain foods and/or plants. On both sides of her family, she had legacy allergies. Yet I remained a scoffer.

Until I spent the night at my Aunt’s and Uncle’s house (in Biloxi) and their cat decided to sleep on the pillow next to my face. [Though that cat slept on top of the television all day, I had been given use of the cat’s nighttime sleeping room, it seems.]

Anyhow, I awoke the next morning with a raw throat and totally congested nasal passages.

Got home after that Keesler AFB Drill Weekend and announced to my wife, “I’m a believer. I’m allergic to cats.”

Fast-forward several decades.

Now there are 1001 OTC products for allergies… in addition to ever more new prescription products to combat one or more symptoms.

And, apparently in the cruel way that karma rears up and slaps you down, I’m now apparently allergic to NUMEROUS things: including cigarette smoke, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and MSG.

So, these days when other people whine about allergies, I no longer scoff. I just put my arm around their shoulders and commiserate. Then I pull out my list of allergies and we compare notes.


Are YOU allergic to anything? For how long? What do you do for it?

[JLS # 328]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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22 Responses to Now I’m a Believer

  1. Kim marcum says:

    As a kid I was allergic to strawberries, coconut, corn, dust, mold, animal dander…I was allergic to most of the things tested for by the doctor. I received weekly allergy shots for years. I had to be inside the house by 5pm every day…doctor’s orders!! Seems like I got nosebleeds almost every time I played outside because of allergies to most things that were outside!! I’ve outgrown the strawberry and corn allergy but most outside seasonal triggers still get me. I take daily allergy medicine. My Mollie has been on allergy medicine since she was 6 months old. She gets nosebleeds and she breaks out if she wears new clothes before they’re washed. I found that out when she was little and at bath time took off her tank top but it looked like she was still wearing one…a red bumpy one. I have to buy unscented clear shampoos & washing detergent for her. Allergies are definitely no fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      My wife’s father, born in 1925, grew up with a runny nose all summer, every summer. Never understood why. No doctors apparently dealt with it. You just had to live with it.
      When he went into the army in WW2, one of his training posts was in the New Orleans area and his camp was carved out of a field of ragweed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As far back as I can recall I have been allergic to mosquito bites. While others get a bothersome itch, I get a fever and cold chills along with the area of the bite being hot to the touch and itchy. I use repellent to keep those bugs away be use I enjoy being outdoors too much to just avoid it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I did not know that you, too are allergic to artificial sweeteners. I have developed several allergies in my adult and now, senior, years.
    I’m lining them up for tomorrow.
    I remember the contact ad that would show a woman walking down the street:
    “Mrs. Somename just had a sneeze, that didn’t happen!” No cure, but they do help.More on that tomorrow, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      yeah, those Contac commercials were wildly misleading. Sure, a decongestant can ease some of your congestion and allow you to breathe a little… but it does NOT make you feel better otherwise. And certainly does not give you the super powers practically implied by those commercials.


  4. kathleenbee says:

    When I was a kid, my older brother had such terrible hayfever that he had to have monthly injections. He eventually grew out of it. Since about two years ago and possibly brought on by doing the paleo diet and it taking a toll on my body, I developed an allergy to something. I still haven’t worked out what it is. I don’t think it’s food related as it’s worse on windy / spring days, so I’m guessing it’s pollen or grasses. (I heard somewhere that if you have a genetic disposition to hayfever, women only get it later in life, whereas males get it at a young age. So I’m guessing my brother had to deal with it as a kid and I have to deal with it as an adult.) I have to take a pill every day and the ones that don’t make you sleepy are quite expensive. But it’s worth it for a better quality of life. I also have an almond allergy and am intolerant to gluten.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      I never heard that part about a gender difference, relative to hay fever.
      Yeah, gluten intolerance is a big pain. It’s totally taken over what I eat for the past six years.


  5. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I remember taking Contact – and lots of other OTC stuff. Now there are so many choices, but as you say, they just treat the symptom, not the malady itself. I’m allergic to certain medications, and cats make me sneeze. Animals in general give me problems.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jbrayweber says:

    I recently had an allergy test done. In part because I’ve never had one. I came down with a mystery condition 3 months into my second pregnancy that doctors nor dermatologists could diagnose. This recent test didn’t help figure it out either. But it did bring to light some other things that might be causing my occasional, awful headaches. The routine 72 most common triggers were poked into my back. Seems I’m allergic to soy (wth?…that’s in everything!), walnuts (another wth?), walnut trees, lettuce (huh?), certain plants that don’t even grow in my part of the country, and certain molds. But I had to inquire what was the one thing they poked on my back that was really itchy. That’s when I found out I was allergic to cats. CATS? I’ve had a cat ALL MY LIFE. Seriously, I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life that I didn’t own at least one. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      Jenn, I hope they get to the bottom of what’s causing the headaches.
      Our son had that “72” test back when he was just a squirmy kindergartner — way too early, in my opinion, but I was overruled because of my general skepticism (about allergies). He was allergic to nearly everything that grew or breathed in S.E. Louisiana. Interestingly, he was NOT allergic to camel dander. Go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joselyn says:

        My son is allergic to pet dander. I might be allergic to artificial sweeteners. They don’t make me stuffy or anything like that, but they certainly don’t agree with my stomach. I had the scratch test done and a blood test done. According to those I’m not allergic to anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        “not allergic to anything” — normally that would be great news.
        However, if you’re having specific symptoms without any other known causative… then there must be SOMETHING out there that’s got your number.


  7. I am surrounded by family and friends with pollen-hay fever-dander allergies. My only bout personally was with acacia blossoms over a few summers while I lived in Wales. If my experience with colds is any indication of suffering, I sympathize!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      thanks for visiting, Leigh.
      I’m not familiar with acacia blossoms, but it seems to me that any allergy to anything can be miserable… especially when it’s all around you at certain times of the year.
      Looking forward to having you as my Guest Fox next week!


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