My hay fever is so bad I feel I should be allowed to take to my hypoallergenic sheets (2024)

My hay fever is so bad I feel I should be allowed to take to my hypoallergenic sheets (1)

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Every year, the same tired routine. May rolls around, and we brace ourselves, praying to the gods of summer that this will be one of those rare, glorious years when the pollen plague passes over us without taking its pound of tissue paper. As June approaches, we start to get co*cky: I might go outside. I might sit on the grass. Why not? Fear is for mortal men, and I am invincible.

And then – the first sniffles. The dry eyes. The regret at having been born. Maybe it isn’t that bad, we think at first – maybe it’s just the flu, or Covid. But no, we aren’t that lucky. The days press on, and our eyes get redder and itchier, and eventually we have to acknowledge the horrible truth: we still have hay fever, and it’s just as bad as it’s always been.

This June promises to be a particularly rough month for suffers, as experts say pollen levels could triple over the next few weeks. This weekend in particular saw an especially nasty rise, so if you’ve spent the past 48 hours raging against a cruel and uncaring universe, just know there’s a good reason.

If I meet an important person, or somebody I’m attracted to, it’s only a matter of time before I sneeze on or near them

I know I have. I work weekends, and while I’m not saying I deserve a medal for struggling through my job these past two days, surely at least some sort of certificate is in order? Maybe a fruit basket or edible arrangement? Anything except flowers, really.

You have to wonder at what point an employer should be duty-bound to recognise this terrible affliction and put the appropriate measures in place to accommodate them (ie letting me lie down in a dark room with an ice pack on my face instead of doing anything that resembles my job). How can I be expected to get anything done when all I can think about is how good it would feel to rip my own eyes out and put them in the freezer?

If you’re one of those genetic freaks whose body doesn’t completely shut down in the presence of shrubbery, you probably don’t appreciate how bad it can get, but you have to understand: hay fever is no joke. It restricts your breathing, it makes it hard to see, it ruins your mood, and most importantly of all, it lasts for months with no breaks. And for what? The proliferation of fauna and the continued survival of life on Earth? Is any of that really worth it?

Every day I wake up after a night of fitful, constantly interrupted sleep, only to feel as though my face has been colonised by a swarm of spiteful fire ants. My eyes – if you can call them that, since they no longer perform many of the functions that eyes are supposed to – feel like they’ve been taken out of my head and rolled around in sand. All I want to do is rub them, which I obviously can’t, because that’s not good for them, but which I obviously do anyway, because I am a human being made of flesh and nerves.

My nose is somehow too dry and too wet, all at the same time. It really feels like there’s something lodged up there, and that if I could remove it, all of my problems would go away. But there’s nothing up there. That’s just another one of hay fever’s sick pranks.

If I meet an important person, or somebody I’m attracted to, it’s only a matter of time before I sneeze on or near them. And this won’t just be any sneeze – it’s going to be one of those sneezes where you make a weird, sad whimpering noise. Goodbye self-respect – goodbye the respect of others.

The only way to mitigate any of this is to stay indoors, preferably in the dark, preferably while unconscious – and I can’t do those things while I’m working. Something needs to change, or I’m going to lose it.

There’s an election in just a few weeks. If any party promises to bring in legislation that will let me take a sick day when the pollen count is this high, I’ll vote for them, no questions asked. I don’t care about the economy, or schools, or hospitals, or any of that small-potato stuff – it’s time to bring our long, itchy national nightmare to an end.

My hay fever is so bad I feel I should be allowed to take to my hypoallergenic sheets (2024)
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