Friday, April 18, 2008

Gesundheit!


Okay, so I've been hacking, sniffling and sneezing up a storm for the past two weeks. You know who I blame for this one? Mother Freakin' Nature! Yes, pollen season is whipping my behind here in the ATL. In case you didn't know - and I sure didn't until I moved here - lovely Atlanta has one of the highest pollen counts around...which blows when you happen to be allergic to the stuff. Today, for example, the
pollen count is about 691
. Although that number is much lower than the 3,332 count we saw earlier this week, it's important to remember that anything over 120 is considered extremely high.
According to a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, experts say this pollen season could be particularly long and miserable thanks to a mild winter and recent rain. BLARGH!
Anyway, I've been trying to get rid of the sniffles and itchy eyes with packets of Emergen-C, Mucinex tablets and Claritin. Earlier in the week, when my scratchy throat nearly hindered conversation, I gargled saltwater every night and guzzled down cups of tea spiced with honey, cayenne pepper and ginger. So I now feel better than I did, but continue to have that icky "hay fever" feeling.
Well, after spending a few minutes today searching the Internet, I found some tips aimed at reducing the pollen-related allergy misery. Whatever helps, right?!

Around the House
• Wash hands and rinse eyes in cold water to clear residual pollen.
• Keep windows closed and the car sunroof shut.
• Change air filters once a month; wash electrostatic filters.
• Attic fans suck pollen into the house; don't use them.
• Outdoor pets are covered in ragweed; wash them frequently and don't let pets on the bed.
• Allergens linger in carpets and rugs; Vacuum frequently.

Outdoors
• Don't dry your laundry outside.
• Shower after spending extended time outdoors.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses outdoors to prevent pollen from irritating the eyes.
• Minimize your activity between 5 and 10 a.m when pollen is usually emitted.
• A prolonged rain scrubs pollen out of the air, but a brief downpour may cause settled particles to become airborne, raising pollen counts.
• Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves; if you cannot avoid yardwork, wear a pollen mask

Another interesting point, apparently up to one-third of people with seasonal allergies may also wind up with "pollen-food" syndrome - or itchiness, tingling or swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat after eating fresh fruits, veggies and other kinds of food. Experts say cooking these foods - rather than eating them raw - can help reduce or prevent any allergic reactions. Cooking veggies really isn't much of a stretch, but what to make with cooked fruit? Hmmmmm...Guess I'll just have to bake some sort of pie! WOO HOO! See? There's a silver lining to everything! So in an effort to follow doctors' orders, I think these two low-calorie, sugar-free recipes may be on the weekend's menu.

Baked Apple Turnovers

Berry-Cherry Pie

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