Are Nothing To Sneeze At
by Mad Dog
reaction is actually a false alarm. The body’s immune system, taking
its lead from the FBI and CIA, has trouble telling the good guys from
the bad guys.
||Allergies are the body’s
way of saying “Keep Away.” They’re the voice in the horror movie
that sounds like James Earl Jones with laryngitis whispering “Get
out!”, but of course no one listens, instead heading down into the
dark basement, usually half naked, and always figuring it would be a
waste of electricity to turn on the lights or use a flashlight. Unlike
allergy sufferers, people in horror movies deserve what they get.
An allergic reaction is actually a false alarm.
The body’s immune system, taking its lead from the FBI and CIA, has
trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys. As a result it sees
something like, say, a dust mite and mistakes it for Osama bin Laden.
Right, like anyone’s ever seen a dust mite with a beard and turban. In
its confusion, the immune system suspends the body’s civil rights,
creates a new cabinet position (Secretary of Homebody Defense), and gets
the white blood cells to produce antibodies. The African-American,
Latino, and Asian blood cells protest and file a discrimination lawsuit,
but by then it’s too late—the antibodies have already attached
themselves to special cells in the body called mast cells. The mast
cells get upset, release histamine, and as a result you end up with
watery eyes, itching, sneezing, a runny nose, and a better excuse with
which to try to convince your significant other to get rid of that
damned cat other than “I don’t like anything that gets more
attention than I do.”
allergens end up in our food by mistake, such as when you sprinkle
ragweed pollen over your Sweet and Sour Tuna Helper because, once again,
you mistook it for the salt.
||The most common things
that trigger allergic reactions are pollen, mold, insect stings, foods,
and Regis Philbin. Some of these are easier to stay away from than
others, though thanks to ABC canceling Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
one will be much easier to avoid now. Others, like food allergies, are
trickier. That’s why most airlines have stopped giving out the
traditional tiny bag of four peanuts, replacing it instead with a tiny
bag of four micro-pretzels. Yes, apparently it’s asking a little too
much of people who are allergic to nuts to see the word “Peanuts” in
36-point type next to an anthropomorphized peanut wearing a top hat,
holding a cane, and looking through a monocle and think, “Hmmmmmm,
I’m allergic to peanuts. I wonder if there might be any in this
Sometimes allergens end up in our food by mistake,
such as when you sprinkle ragweed pollen over your Sweet and Sour Tuna
Helper because, once again, you mistook it for the salt. Recently
Berkeley Farms, a California dairy producer, recalled a big batch of
milk because they accidentally put too much penicillin in it. Actually
they meant to put Cipro in it. Just kidding. The truth is they didn’t
put the antibiotic in the milk at all, the cows did. Of course they
couldn’t help it, it came with their dinner.
Still, Berkeley Farms had to pull the milk because
it could cause serious problems for people who are allergic to
penicillin. They retrieved umpteen thousand gallons of milk and are
destroying it, which proves that they, like most large companies, make
the mistake of seeing the milk glass half empty. If they were smart
they’d recognize this as a marketing opportunity and repackage it as
Berkeley Farms Milk With Calcium, Vitamin D, and Penicillin. It could
prove very popular amongst those prone to strep infections, pneumonia,
spinal meningitis, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Prostitutes would be hooked
on the stuff, thanks to the advertising slogan, “A glass a day keeps
the doctor away.”
If you have
allergies, it’s important to stop and have “that little
discussion.” Yes, before you kiss anyone you should find out if
they’ve recently eaten peanuts, penicillin, dust mites, ragweed
pollen, or cats.
||This isn’t really so far
fetched. After all, it’s hard to find a food item on the grocer’s
shelf that doesn’t have at least something added to it. Orange juice
now has calcium. Bottled water has caffeine. My toothpaste doesn’t
just clean my teeth anymore, it also has fluoride, baking soda,
peroxide, tartar protection, whitening agents, and probably oat bran.
Hey, if I can stay regular just by brushing my teeth there’s no
question I’ll be flashing a much brighter smile.
Now Crest is taking this one step farther by
releasing Rejuvenating Effects, a toothpaste designed specifically for
women. They’re not saying whether it will have calcium, estrogen, or
Midol added, all they’re saying is that it will taste like vanilla and
cinnamon. If it’s a hit you can expect other companies to follow suit
by putting out Colgate Mocha Frappuccino (“Now available in decaf with
soy milk!”) and Aqua-Fresh with Cheddar.
That’s right, researchers at the Forsyth
Institute in Boston have discovered that eating cheese can prevent
cavities. They say it has to do with the calcium in cheese, an increase
in saliva when you chew it, and cheese being able to replace tooth
enamel, kind of like repainting the bathroom except you don’t need to
throw out an uncleanable paint roller every time you eat cheese.
Of course this means that anyone who’s allergic
to dairy products will have to watch out who they kiss. In a letter to
the New England Journal of Medicine, two researchers wrote that kissing
someone who has recently eaten an item you’re allergic to can often
cause you to have a reaction. Though the study confined itself to people
who are allergic to nuts and seeds, the same could hold true of other
allergies. Thus, if you have allergies, it’s important to stop and
have “that little discussion.” Yes, before you kiss anyone you
should find out if they’ve recently eaten peanuts, penicillin, dust
mites, ragweed pollen, or cats. Hey, you can never be too safe.
©2002 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them as long as you're not allergic to them.