Friday, April 16, 2010

Allergy and Infection: The Yellow Victory

I practice in the Dayton, Ohio area, the fourth worst allergy city in America. I'm hoping we can move up to number one if we work on it. Maybe plant a few thousand more trees or start a ragweed farm. August 15th is "Ragweed Day", March 15th is "Tree Day" and April 1st (no fooling) is "Grass Day". From Ragweed Day til the first frost, allergy medications and tissues are popular items in all the stores. When the first frost arrives, the "sinus sufferers" facial pain stops and the asthmatics start their winter wheezing (like a tag team). I often tell patients, "Mucous is the state bird in Ohio", to apprise them of the ubiquitous nature of Ohio Mucous. Patients may have a need to dry it and block it or flow it and blow it, depending on the location and the nature of the mucous. My medical advice depends on their innate ability to store or process mucous. The normal adult head makes about two liters of mucous daily (correct- it would fill a two liter soft drink bottle).

My patients often are unlucky enough to get an upper respiratory infection in their excess allergic mucous. This adds a few hundred more mililiters of mucous to the 2 liters. Then it might feel like it's coming through their face, unless they flow it and blow it, or have huge sinuses in which to store the excess mucous. When they see the yellow mucous from the infection, many believe that they need an antibiotic to treat the infection. The associated body aches combined with the facial pain add to the pressure to get an antibiotic from their family physician. When they ask, "don't I need antibiotic since I have yellow snot" (Ohioans seem comfortable with this word)?, I tend to respond, "No, actually it's cause for celebration since you're experiencing "The Yellow Victory". That means that your body is killing the infection and you don't have leukemia. Congratulations!"

Helpful therapeutic strategies include saline nasal spray and gargle, loratadine or cetirizine for the allergies and guiafenescen to flow the mucous. To stop the mucous, pseudoephedrine is a great drier-upper of mucous.

To celebrate the yellow "victory", start with mucous and add infection. If your face doesn't start hurting, move to Dayton, Ohio. We'll celebrate the Yellow Victory with you .


  1. I love it!!!


  2. Philosophy at its finest! Thanks for sharing, I'm off to prepare my garden for my Ragweed Day Celebration....Jane