It’s currently August and when we moved here in August of 2015, I realized how bad the environment here can get. Almost immediately I began to get daily headaches and sadly, it has happened every single year since.
Growing up in New York, I wasn’t allergic to anything. Upon moving to North Carolina I realized that at the end of March, going into April pollen would become my nemesis. I mean pollen so thick that it coated the cars, mailboxes, garbage cans, porches, and you if you stayed out there long enough. It was rough, but thankfully this is when I began to research and found out about the benefits of raw local honey. Taking this honey daily helped me to build up my immune system and allowed me to get through the pollen season.
In moving to Alabama I had no idea how bad the air was here during certain times of the year. My parents retired and moved here about 12 years ago. We always visited, but never more than a few days and apparently not during this time of the year. When I developed the pollen allergy in North Carolina which happened over time, I had a thought that the further south I went, the more I would have to deal with….I just didn’t think it would be as bad as it gets for me here with all the sprays.
At times my headaches would get so bad that could not leave the house. The good part about that is that I worked from home. The bad part is that it left me unable to do certain things with my family. Thinking the worse, I went to several doctors and the common question was always “are you new to this area?” Why? Well the answer is simple, but hard to bear. The doctors told me that this is the time of year when the farmers use heavy sprays on their crops.
Now please tell me how is that beneficial to people like me? It’s not. I mean think of the man who was just awarded millions of dollars because he handled harmful chemicals almost daily. Pesticides are known for causing harm to people and to the environment. They can be carried by the wind or get into our water system when it rains. Sometimes they show up as headaches, nausea, or asthma. Other times, they can lead to fatal illnesses like cancer.
Whatever is being sprayed during this season is extremely hurtful to me. I used to joke and say that I was allergic to Alabama, but I actually have chemical sensitivities and I am extremely sensitive to pesticides. The headaches were my body telling me to get help.
I learned about my pesticide sensitivity years back when I was on a blueberry craze. I purchased blueberries from a local supermarket and I was eating a lot of them. On one occasion, my whole body became inflamed. It was like my skin was burning from the inside, I was itchy all over, and I felt extremely sick. I went to urgent care and during this visit, I told the doctor the only thing I was doing differently was eating a lot of blueberries. I had always eaten blueberries and never had a food allergy in my life up to this point. The end result was this, blueberries are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and since I was eating so many I was exposed to the pesticide at a higher dosage. My body could no longer fight them off on its own. The reaction was it’s defense in telling me something was wrong. So as you can imagine, I knew the doctor here was correct about the sprays in the air. It just made sense.
Unfortunately, during August, September, and sometimes later I have to deal with these headaches. Some days I am unable to leave the house. Other days when I can leave the house, I cannot ride in the car with the windows down. I was able to find a local honey source here, but it took a lot of time. So I suffered at first. The doctors prescribed me something for the pain along with allergy medication, but I am not one of those people who likes to take daily medicine. I will, but I would rather not. Plus it doesn’t really work. So I use alternative methods, like covering my face if I have to go out, immediately washing my clothes, using a mask, or just staying in.
You guys know that we choose not to use any pesticides on anything we grow. Of course we know we live in an area where conventional farms and cash crops with heavy sprays are the norm, but even still I share my story because it’s important to know how your environment can affect your health and what you can do about it.
Of course I use other methods than the ones listed above, but if you suffer from seasonal toxins you have to find what works for you specifically. Each person is different and what works for me, may not work for you.
The bottom line is living in the Wiregrass means heavy sprays. Research, protect, and take action for yourself and your family. Find ways to fight and live, even during the times of seasonal toxins.