The weather has been sunny and generally lovely in London for the past few days. After a very cold start to the year, and a seemingly interminable winter, walking under a blue sky to see flowers blossoming is very nice. I can see flowers, but I am unable to enjoy the delicate scent, as this also means the beginning of the hay fever season for me. I end up taking loratadine tablets, and as the active ingredient is the same regardless of the brand, I get the cheap, supermarket’s own-brand, one-a-day tablets. I do need some sort of medication, otherwise my eyes and nose turn into Niagara Falls of tear and snot.
Loratadine is non-drowsy, but it does seem to fog my head a little, wit yesterday, when I needed to go to the shops to purchase milk and loo paper, and ended up buying a lot of things, except – and you’ve guessed it correctly – milk and loo paper. My memory and attention span seem to fall to the equivalent level of a goldfish with ADHD. The tablets also play havoc with my sense of smell, in that every scent becomes so subtle, to the extent that eating things from the fridge becomes a lottery, in which I win nothing but losing the lottery involves some sort of stomach problem.
Being the kind of person who becomes convinced that all and every side effects are manifested, upon perusal of the leaflet, I should not read the packagings or warnings, but then I cannot stop myself from reading them. Though I have to say, I could not find symptoms of serious side effects, such as swelling of the face, and perversely, I’m disappointed. Now I look at the section on other possible side effects. Headache, nervousness and tiredness, the warning states, and I’m almost ready to convince myself that the tablets are giving me those symptoms, but the warning continues in children aged 2-12 years. Oh, not me then. Undeterred, I read on. Drowsiness, headache, increased appetite and difficulty sleeping: yes, yes, possibly, and yes. Hmm ... This is not too good. Very rare side effects are severe allergic reactions, no I don’t have that, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, feeling sick (nausea), dry mouth, upset stomach, changes in liver function, rash hair loss and tiredness. I sometimes do feel dizzy, and is my heart beating more quickly? I’d better check. My heart is beating, but is it rapid? I don’t know. How do I detect changes in liver function? Do I have to drink alcohol to check if my liver is still functioning? Perhaps the liver has changed without me being aware. And hair loss? I am resigned to the fate that I’m going to be bald soon.
The loratadine days will continue for some time, and so will my fear of its side effects.