My Drug of Choice

This morning the local convenience store manager looked at me, and asked with neighborly concern if everything was all right. I told her everything was fine, except that the entire plant kingdom was trying to mate in my nose. Which necessitated the Claritin you see above. With luck it’ll keep me from sneezing every seven seconds and looking like I’m watching a telenovela marathon. Let us hope.

49 Comments on “My Drug of Choice”

  1. I started my yearly several-months-long addiction to those, too. Except we just buy the generic Loratidine (CVS and Rite Aid carry their own brands of bottles containing 60 or 90 pills). Way WAAAAY cheaper.

  2. “John Scalzi, unwilling star of the vegetable kingdom’s three-month long bukkakke movie.”

    Best quote ever. Anyways, I am an Allegra man.

  3. lilacsigil:

    Well, that was the only amount the convenience store had. I’ll be buying in more economical bulk sometime reasonably soon.

  4. Yes, I’ll be heading out at lunchtime to buy some to have on hand at work as I just discovered that I used up the ones I had in my purse. I did, however, have one lone generic sudafed which I’ve now taken. Fortunately, there is a CVS within walking distance of my work place.

  5. Totally LOVE Claritin. Claritin D, even more so.

    John, be glad you don’t live in the sinus valley bowl that is Dayton. It is much worse here right now. Everything in the plant kingdom is DOING IT RIGHT NOW!!!!! We finally warmed up on Friday here in Dayton. We went from early spring to early summer with no stop in the middle. (today is the 4th 80 degree day in a row).

    Dayton has always been bad for sinus & allergy sufferers. When I had braces, my (young, hot, married) orthodontist ended up selling his practice because his wife’s allergies were so bad here in sinus valley, she had a sinus infection all summer long. They moved to Arizona. (my 2nd ortho guy was just as good, but not so young, and definately not so hot)

  6. The next step up in strength is zyrtec. That’s what we prefer around here, although I’m doing claritin right now, before my peak death season–May, because we have a lot of it in the house. Both loratidine (claritin) and zyrtec work by occupying histamine receptors so that actual histamines can’t get in and wreak havoc. That means that once you’re deep into an allergy attack, it can take a couple of days to get relief, because the medicine can’t get in and park in those spots until the histamines drop off. I use a steroid nasal spray, nasal lavage, and sometimes even eye drops and an inhaler to survive allergy season. Probiotics help some people, but personally they did not make a difference in my symptoms when I went on a month-long yogurt and kim chee bender last fall. C’est la vie.

  7. I used to buy Claritin D before they stuck it behind the Pharmacy counter. I then switched to generic from Costco (300 for $12.59) and take it every day. Good stuff…

  8. By the way, I don’t even know what “vegetabe bukakke” is. It sounds like sushi, but something tells me that I’d better not google it.

  9. Catherine Shaffer:

    Yes, don’t.


    “John, be glad you don’t live in the sinus valley bowl that is Dayton. It is much worse here right now.”

    Worse than being in a rural community surrounded by entire fields of pollen-bearing plants? I’m not sure I’m 100% behind your police work, there, BeVibe.

  10. Do you ever need to go in for the Claritin-D? And if so, where do you fall in the Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine debate? I hate having to go to the pharmacy counter and get my ID checked just for a box of Tylenol sinus.

    It also occurs to me to hope this post gets by the spam filter with all these drug names in it.

  11. When I lived in the midwest and northeast, every Spring was sheer misery. Down in the southeast, I have only very mild hayfever. I guess I must be allergic to something that is more common up north, and my money is on birches. Curiously, my allergy to apples has also become less severe, and since birch allergy is often associated with allergy to apples, I wonder if birch pollen in the air up north was sensitizing me to other allergens.

    So, if you are also allergic to apples or cherries, perhaps the answer is to up-sticks and move south of the Mason-Dixon line.

  12. the entire plant kingdom was trying to mate in my nose.

    Remember that all that’s reaching you is the male part. It’s supposed to land on a pistil somewhere and do its thing, but landed in your nose instead. So what you have here is not the plant kingdom trying to mate in your nose.

    It’s the entire plant kingdom trying to mate with your nose.

  13. I find Zyrtec a lot more effective. I, too, wish the plant kingdom would get over this primitive “airborn semen” nonsense.

  14. Claritin seems to do the trick for a lot of folks, but it never worked for me. Zyrtec is the only reason I’m still sane (relatively speaking).

    anyway, feel better. . .

  15. I used to pop the loratadine too, but I’ve switched to cetirizine (Zyrtec) since it went OTC. (Actually was on it for awhile when it was prescription too.) Seems to work better.

    Since someone brought it up, phenylephrine does nothing for me or my wife, so we have to go through the hoops to get the pseudoephedrine.

  16. I’m stunned that this stuff hasn’t made it to Japan yet. Half the population here goes into hay fever agony every spring like clockwork – thanks to the mountains full of cedar trees that the government in its infinite wisdom decided to replace the diverse forests with. As near as I can tell, the only real relief comes from face masks and gaman (the spirit of endurance).

    They’d make an embarrassing amount of money here.

  17. Costco has the redi-tabs in 50 packs. I keep one in all my jacket pockets, my belt pouch, and my backpack during allergy season. I don’t like taking pills without water, and the redi-tabs are a godsend if I’m out in the world and smacked by pollen.

  18. i feel your pain, brotha.

    imagine growing up in Fresno — the plant-sex capital of the WORLD

  19. I remember when this stuff was still prescription in the US yet over-the-counter in Canada. My friends from Edmonton were my Claritin mules. They keep trying to turn me on to other OTC Canadian drugs, but this little anti-plant sex American just says no.

  20. Sam@27 – I don’t have to imagine what growing up in Fresno was like. I was there, had the t-shirt, and moved to blessedly concrete LA as soon as I could.

    One day I was at the allergist. The one on Shields, between First and Millbrook (if that’s the same one you went to). I was getting another set of scratch tests to see how much smaller my reactions were after a year of allergy shots. The door to my room was thrown open. Doctor Z. marched in, towing a woman. “That, madam,” he said, pointing to the huge, itchy welts on my back “is an allergic reaction. Your son, as I have said before, does NOT have allergies!” He dragged her out of the room.

    I never did get an explanation, and at 14, I was just appalled that some strange woman saw my scratched-up back.

  21. I was using the CostCo brand version of Clariton for about 3 years. This year, however, it seems to have stopped working for me. I guess my body just got use to it. Now, I’ve started taking Zyrtec and it’s working great for me so far.

    The biggest thing I have to be careful of is benadryl. It works great, but it puts me to sleep for about 24 hours… :(

  22. @ MShades – the cedars made sense in 1946 – they grew faster than other trees and erosion was a problem after the firebombing.

    But by the 60s, they should have had the sense to start replacing them with something else.

  23. Loratadine is great stuff; first antihistamine I’ve discovered that doesn’t get me sleepy or stoned. (Diphenhydramine leaves me semiconscious and free-associating aloud.)

  24. Sweet, sweet pseudoephedrine… Sinus relief and pep pill, all in the same package. That’s one way to get some writing done… If you don’t mind crashing like a speed freak… =)

  25. Ahhhh…. Allegra (generic) for me. Anything with sudafed (regardless of how you spell it) is pretty much off limits for those of us with high blood pressure. I use it ONLY as a last resort.

    Try south Texas cedar fever – late November thru early March. Ruins the xmas season for us and the tourists.

    San Antonio secret: the river (of riverwalk fame) is drained and cleaned out the first week of January every year. Don’t be suckered in by very cheap room rates that week. You’ll get a nasty surprise.


  26. If you have Target in your area I think the last time I bought a bottle of 100 (or was it 120?) generic loretadine tabs it was about $14.00 or so.

    When they aren’t sold out, anyway.

  27. I used to do Claritin until, suddenly, it simply stopped working well for me.

    Lately, I’ve found sinus irrigation using a neti pot keeps things under control most of the time, with an occasional Claritin/Zyrtec when appropriate.

  28. So I wonder how this infusion of anti-allergy pills will affect John’s regular marathon telenovela sessions, now that he can’t hide behind statements like “no, I haven’t been watching telenovelas. It’s just my allergies.”

    – yeff

  29. Anything with a “D” requires the presentation of a driver’s lisence & a solem pledge stating that you’re not running a meth lab. At least in Ohio. Damn tweekers.

    The Walgreens’ “Walatin(!)” D is pretty good for a cheaper knock-off.

  30. Without Claritin, life itself would be impossible.

    Every family visit when there is no white stuff on the ground reminds me that I am allergic to the entire state of Ohio…

  31. Plant sex (particularly those horny grasses) is why I squirt steroids up my nose and into my lungs everyday. YAY steroids!

  32. Even the trees sneeze in the Southeast… A good spring day for us still registers in the extreme pollen counts.

    And, I have to pony up my ID and use the psuedoephedrine for serious relief.

    That or steal some from all of my meth making neighbors.

    They’ll be coming for your cough syrup next!

  33. Because it hasn’t yet been mentioned, I’d like to recommend my favorite “allows me to go outside in springtime” med: Cromolyn (Nasalcrom).

    I’ve been using it for 20 years, because the less histamines your body makes, the less antihistamines you need. I used to need plenty, before my first cromolyn prescription (it is over the counter now).

    It is a non-steroid spray that stops the mast cells in the nose from releasing histamines. It can be taken for as long as is needed–all spring for me–and doesn’t cause rebounds. It starts working on the first spray but takes a day to built to full strength. It also fades off slowly (good if you forget a dose or two).

    I think that it isn’t well known because it gets shelved with all the steroid sprays, so it isn’t obvious that it is quite different.

    Before cromolyn I had dreadful spring allergies. Back then even with prescription antihistamines there’d be about 2 months where I always looked and sounded like I had a cold. I remember sneezing through classes because the only thing that really worked–benedryl–would make me sleep through class.

    Now I rarely worry about pollen, unless I forget the cromolyn for two days. Cromolyn also helps me when visiting people who have too much house dust. On the really bad pollen days I’ll also take a generic Claritin.

  34. Muaha, I totally win the “Best Price for Claritin” contest which always crops up whenever the word “allergy” is mentioned in conversation.

    300 pills (generic brand).

    Of course, you’re probably farther from a Costco than I am (it’s only a half hour drive for me).

  35. I have the misfortune of being allergic to Claritin. This gets me some odd looks from various medical professionals when mentioned.

    I’m not nearly in as bad a shape, though, as the friend who’s allergic to Benadryl – practically any ER in the country will kill her as a matter of course if she comes in with a bad allergic reaction and fails to get this information across to them.

  36. Consider Aller-tec, a Zyrtec clone available at Costco and presumably elsewhere. 300 tablets, nominally lasting 24 hours, for about 18 bucks. Basically it’s purely an antihistamine (Ceterizine HCl 10 mg) and it does a reasonably nice job of unplugging stuffed up noses.

    I sometimes mumble that one of few signs that show we are progressing toward a better world (where IS my flying car, dammit? where is my space program?) is that over-the-counter medicines have gotten amazing better over the past fifty years.

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