PSA: PSEUDOEPHEDRINE IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION

FOLKS. THE DECONGESTANT KNOWN AS PSEUDOEPHEDRINE, WHICH IS REGULATED DUE TO ITS USE IN ILLEGAL METHAMPHETAMINE PRODUCTION, IS NOT AN ALLERGY MEDICATION. IT IS USED TO TREAT SOME OF THE POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS OF ALLERGIES, NAMELY, CONGESTION OF THE NASAL PASSAGES. IT CANNOT TREAT THINGS LIKE ITCHING, SNEEZING, OR HIVES. IT HAS NO EFFECT ON THE ACTUAL THING CAUSING YOUR SYMPTOMS, WHICH IS PRODUCTION OF HISTAMINES IN YOUR BODY DUE TO IT RESPONDING TO THINGS LIKE DANDER, POLLEN, DUST, AND SO ON.

BUT WHAT, SCREAMING BLOGGER LADY, IS THE STUFF THAT I NEED TO TAKE FOR MY ALLERGIES, AND WHY BY ALL THE GODS DO I HAVE TO SHOW MY ID AND SIGN FOR IT AND BE PUT ON A NATIONAL REGISTER AND BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL AND (QUESTIONER IS DROWNED OUT BY “THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER” RISING TO A CRESCENDO BUT THAT’S OKAY AS THE SCREAMING LADY BLOGGER IS ACTUALLY JUST TYPING). WELL, OKAY, CONFUSED PERSON WITH THE RED NOSE AND THE PILE OF USED TISSUES AND THE WEB-BROWSER OPEN TO THE RIGHT-WING WEBSITE COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW MEDICINES THAT “RIP OUT THE LINING OF THE UTERUS” (AND ALL THOSE LITTLE DEAD BABIES THAT GET STUCK IN THERE I GUESS) ARE OKAY TO JUST BUY OFF THE SHELF BUT POOR ALLERGY SUFFERERS ARE FORCED TO SIGN THEIR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS AWAY BECAUSE DRUG WARS (ONLY WE BETTER NOT STOP THE DRUG WARS BECAUSE REASONS)), OKAY, HERE’S THE BIG SECRET OF WHAT REALLY WORKS ON YOUR ALLERGIES. ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO YOUR SEATS? DO YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE AND MAYBE SOME SMELLING SALTS OR BRANDY NEARBY?

(Maybe you shouldn’t bother with the brandy, though — alcohol can cause swelling of the nasal passages.)

ANYWAY, HERE IT IS, THE MAGICAL MYSTERY SUBSTANCE THAT ACTUALLY TREATS YOUR ALLERGIES: IT’S CALLED… ANTIHISTAMINES.

And antihistamines are not regulated.

Though maybe they should be, as just 25 mg of diphenhydramine (the ingredient in Benadryl and many other over-the-counter antihistamines) can make you feel as zonked as if you’d downed a liter of vodka. Another common OTC antihistamine, chlorpheniramine maleate, has the same effect. There are some that purport to be “non-drowsy” but imho they’re only “somewhat less drowsy-making.” How do I know this? I’ve fucking tried them all. With and WITHOUT decongestants, which I will repeat are only used to treat the congestive aspects of allergic attacks.

Now children, I am coming to the reason you have to show ID and so on when you go to buy your pack of Claritin-D. It’s because of that “D” in there, which simply stands for “decongestant,” and indicates that one of the two OTC decongestants have been added to the allergy medication. Do I have to tell you to read the fucking ingredients on any meds you buy? Of course I do, this is America, we don’t read instructions or directions, we just blindly reach for the package that has the biggest, shiniest promise that it will Make Us Feel Better on the package, or else we take the same thing our mother gave us when we were ten years old and caught cold, because Mommy! Or some shit.

Anyway, you’re there with the card that says “Claritin-D” and filling out a form and feeling all humiliated because Rush Limbaugh says that’s how you should feel about having to show ID (which you don’t mind showing ten times a day for other things, but this is your Health and Physical Comfort! Mommy!), and you see a teenager girl ahead of you walk up, ask for a package of One-Step, pay, and leave without filling out anything, and you are filled with envy and rage! And I’m prepared to feel sorry, as I know that being filled with envy and rage hurts, but then you go home and get on the computer and babble on Twitter about how it’s not fair that you have to show ID for your allergy meds but birth control is being handed out like candy and all my pity evaporates.

Here’s the thing. There are two OTC decongestants that you take in pill form, and only one is regulated. There is pseudoephedrine, which is the bad meth-making one, which is regulated, and there is phenylephrine, which is not. By my own trials pseudoephedrine is the more effective one, though the other one works okay. And you know what? It’s not good to take too many decongestants anyway. You will get what is known as “rebound congestion” which is even worse congestion. That happened to me. I thought I was just having a really bad allergy time, but actually I had been stupid and been taking Sudafed for several weeks. I had to stop cold turkey, which means, yes, I had a stopped up head for about two miserable weeks. But you know what? I was able to keep on taking the antihistamine, which I just bought without the decongestant in it. You can do that you know. But it requires actually looking at all the different brands on the shelf and even (ulp!) reading the list of ingredients.

Teal deer, you’re all idiots, I’m sick of ignorant Americans taking their stupid automatic “I know what I know the hell with the facts” and going out in the world and saying stupid shit that messes everything up. Thanks to ignoramuses like this and the people who feed off them like Rush Limbaugh, everyone thinks now that women who take birth control medication are all sluts (I take the Pill to regulate my period so I won’t bleed to death, is that OKAY????) and that the Slut Army is persecuting poor, allergy-riddled victims by elbowing them out of the way so they can get their Slut Pills. Personally, as a Slut Pill user and an allergy sufferer, I hope you all choke on your own snot, but I’ll restrain my murderous rage in order to HELP you to a better, brighter tomorrow where you won’t have to show your driver’s license for this one damn thing:

Don’t just buy “Claritin-D” or “Wal-Phed” or any “allergy medication” that is hidden behind the counter so Meth Mike can’t get his hands on it. Buy a pack of Claritin (or any other antihistamine) ONLY. Make sure (read the fucking ingredients! Turn over the box! Look at the sides! They’re on there, usually under the heading “ingredients”) that the package ONLY has an antihistamine as an active ingredient. If you don’t know what an antihistamine is actually called, do a little fucking research. It’s called the fucking internet. Call your fucking doctor. Or fuck, ask the fucking pharmacist at the goddamn drugstore. You’re THERE ALREADY, aren’t you?

And as for decongestants… actually treating your allergic symptoms should bring quite a bit of relief. Try something non-medicated, like holding your head over a steaming cup of herbal tea. (I almost wrote “go boil your head” but I’m trying to dial back the rage here, I really am.) Take a hot shower. Or if you really must take something, take a decongestant whose ingredient (read them! I swear to God if I don’t see you turn that package over and look at the ingredient list I will fucking ki… dialing back the rage, dialing back, deep breath…) is “phenylephrine.” And don’t drink any booze, booze will make you feel worse.

Or if you really, really want to get that sweet, sweet blocked-nasal-passage-blasting pseudoeffie, then just deal with having to sign for it. If it still shirts you off, then, I don’t know, maybe you could look for ways to make this something less of a shit society so people won’t feel the need to get blasted on weird chemicals cooked up in a shed. You could do that instead of raging about girls and women taking control of their own bodies and lives. How about it?

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The clean fresh country air

This isn’t my gonna-shock-your-socks-off post. I’m still putting that off working on it. This is a complaint about my new(ish) home state and how I think it’s basically trying to kill me.

You know how everyone in the cities talks about how wonderful it is to get out from under the cloud of smelly exhaust fumes and other urban olfactory delights and into the countryside where the air is fresh and clean? Let me tell you right now these people are full of it. They’re not full of shit, though — that’s because they don’t live right next to farmland where every spring they spread fertilizer, and not nice chemical fertilizer either. Nope, most of the farms around here either seem to be Mennonite farms or organic farms owned by former hippies, and they use “natural” fertilizer. I drive through about twenty-five miles of this stuff twice a day six days a week, and my car’s elderly ventilation system is no use at all. Right now I have two air-fresheners in my car, so at least the poo smell has notes of Fresh Linen and Lavender-Vanilla on top.

And that’s not all. Many cute, furry animals live around here. Oh, I hear you thinking, how wonderful! Everyone likes cute, furry animals. Well there is one cute, furry animal whose sudden addition to the endangered species rolls would not bring a tear to my eye. That’s because I’ve already had my tear ducts ruined by the cloud of fragrance this creature exudes. That’s right, I’m talking about skunks. I have yet to see a live one — but I’ve seen, and smelled, many dead ones along the road (again, my car’s ventilation system just gave up and died). There was, however, at least one live one roaming around in the alleyway between the building I live in and the one next door. I had to close my window. I live on the second floor.

And then there is the plant life. See, I’ve finally moved some place with Classic Spring and Classic Autumn. Both seasons here are gorgeous. In autumn all the trees are multicolored, the air is crisp, yadda yadda. Spring is ethereal, the trees are misty clouds of pink and white and yellow. And so on. And both seasons have found me coughing and hacking from constant post-nasal drip. I live on cough drops. I reek of menthol. I read somewhere that spring in the southeast is worst for allergy sufferers, but in the northeast autumn is the bad time. Virginia is about halfway between southeast and northeast, so I get it coming and going.

Excuse me. I’m going to take some Benadryl and suck on another cough drop. At least last night’s skunk has not returned.