The Hudson Valley is known for its picturesque landscapes during changing seasons: winding side roads that creep up to farms with rolling hills, the Catskills backdrop near Mohonk Preserve and the Hudson River that flows underneath the well-traversed bridges. And … allergies. Our location is known for collecting all the tree, grass and flower gunk and storing it in the grand valley. People who are sensitive to outdoor allergies have to battle a biological warfare against Mother Nature during one or several seasons.
I know well the effects of allergies on my mood and motivation during the day; lethargy, loss of concentration and sometimes restlessness makes it difficult to stay still in a classroom or workplace and finish a task in an efficient manner. And to compensate, allergy medication, an inhaler for asthma likely induced by allergies, and extra effort spent on concentration can get expensive and tiresome.
Having a brother who is highly sensitive to allergies and having them myself, I can attest that distress caused by allergies can be underrated and under-recognized. Restlessness caused by allergies can be exacerbated by ADHD/ADD, therefore affecting the ability to remain still and attentive in class. I’ve seen family members who seem to be driven by a motor: talking fast, moving quickly and moving from one activity to another at light speed. Other times, they often forget words or space out during conversation more than usual. Normally, ADHD/ADD would solely explain these symptoms, but along with sneezing, dark circles under the eyes, sinus pressure and irritability, allergies seem to pair up to the neurological diagnosis and short-fuse the brain’s ability to perform optimally.
I believe a lot of rowdy children who can’t sit still or blurt out answers in class have issues with allergies. Stuffing students in tight spaces with closed windows and dry heat during the winter can make for relentless suffering and create a haven for indoor allergens to spread. Grades may drop, detentions may be passed around and little understanding can create frustrations for students and teachers. Anxiety over school and work performance can alter an individual’s self- esteem, particularly if they can’t figure out why they are having difficulties with cognitive functioning that others seem to have under control.
More awareness of how allergies affect school performance and mental health may shed light on why bright and motivated students and workers can’t work to their fullest potential. Other diagnoses also seem to be co-morbid, based on in-depth research on a common internet search engine. Autism, ADHD/ADD, and people with major mood disorders seem to have a dual-diagnosis of allergy sensitivity. Maybe if we treat mental health with piece of mind about allergies, we can tackle how much we are affected by them, and work better in any environment.