Spring Fever

 

The Cycle of Life

Autumn Rests in Easy Chairs

Spring Gets into Bed

 

 

Spring Fever

 

It’s a relief to realize this condition is not found in the ICD manual (International Classification of Disease). The phrase is a misnomer. There is no fever and sexual activity actually decreases in the Spring and increases in the Autumn.

People do often feel happier in the Spring due to the resurgence of light and nature’s beauty. It’s especially rejuvenating for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). They often benefit from an intense light source in the Winter such as a light box or light visor (the visor allows walking around while “lighting up”).

In a poetic sense, Spring Fever is an apt term as a season of one’s life. Yet older people still get out of their easy chairs from time to time and head to the bedroom. But they will never likely call them easy beds.

 

Intoxicating or Toxic

Intoxicating

Or is it really toxic

Don’t trust willpower

 

     What are the main causes of illness? Genetics? Random disease? Poverty? Infections? Autoimmune disorders? Trauma? Aging? What is the role of Addictive Behaviors? With our now worldwide obesity epidemic, high rates of cigarette and alcohol related illnesses and death, sedentary lives of excessive screen time and other sensory stimuli, perhaps much illness is something we have control over.

      If obesity went away, many of the most “successful” drugs would sit in bottles on shelves gathering dust. If emphysema went away, then most people would just need oxygen that’s already in the air; not in metal bottles from medical supply stores. If drug addiction went away, then drug cartels might have to repurpose to community service agencies. If most people got daily exercise and could choose healthy foods, then the children and grandchildren would better learn what’s important for health from their role model parents and grandparents.

     What stimulates addictive behaviors? Anything that is pleasurable! Living is a Catch-22. We are programmed to seek pleasure. Pleasure seeking means survival.  Our ancestors had to constantly move and seek food to survive. The more rest they could find, the more fat and sugar food had, and the more possessions they had,  the more likely they could pursue and slay the next mastodon. We have not evolved beyond that quest for rest, food, and stuff. But the mastodon steaks are already shrink wrapped at the grocery store. We pursue them in our cars. Our stuff encourages sitting a lot.

The advertising industry is expert at encouraging us to seek pleasure. We are expert at seeking pleasure because it is pleasurable and we know all the secret passageways to getting there. We can get through the minefields of medical people, magazines, government agencies, relatives, and friends all reminding us to choose more wisely for our health. Nothing can stop us from taking a hit of dopamine whenever we want, such as anticipating and eating a piece of chocolate cake a la mode.

Dopamine is a chemical Pied Piper of brain neurotransmitters showing you the way to Emerald City,  Shangri-La, or your pleasure-of-choice at the moment. Dopamine is living in the past. It still thinks a saber-toothed tiger is lurking around every corner and wants you to be well fed, rested, and carrying the most modern shield and spear before encountering it. Dopamine means well. It has just become a little misguided.

     We don’t want pain either. Most people like to avoid a healthy amount of exercise because it is often rather unpleasant and causes soreness, especially if we smoke and are overweight. It also takes away time from the pursuit of the vast array of pleasures our culture offers us.

Most of us like the pleasure of false hope. However, there is no snake oil, or magic pill, or diet, or app, or 5 minute abs exercise that will give you a healthy body. But don’t listen to me. This article is just another land mine to avoid on your way to the pleasure center. You’ll find me there enjoying another bowl of ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Allergic rhinitis

Seasonal nosefuls

 Explosions send it flying

Nothing to sneeze at

 

This hallmark of Spring is somewhat of a misnomer though it is a legitimate medical diagnosis. There is no fever and it has numerous triggers besides hay. The word rhinitis derives from rhino which means nose. It’s also a year round problem for many and can occur at any age from innumerable gremlins (antigens).

This is an immune system problem of hypersensitivity; but not like autoimmune conditions such as lupus, since it involves different immune cells and chemical pathways. It’s an overreaction to foreign proteins such as pollens, dust mites, and pet danders. Surprisingly, excessive sterilizing of a child’s environment with soaps and sanitizer increases their risk of getting allergies and eczema.

Allergic rhinitis can lead to asthma and anaphylaxis. So it’s worth trying to blunt the reaction. Medications help and allergic testing and allergy shots are sometimes advised. It’s also important to limit exposure to known antigens. For example, wearing a mask at times of high exposures (if you can’t convince someone else to mow the lawn).