Allergy Season

Allergy season is here. I know this because my eyeballs feel like they have fur. My nose is twitching (in a most un-bewitching way). And the tickle in my perpetually raw throat has me asking, "Is this COVID?!"

Allergies in a pandemic are a right puzzler! Am I symptomatic? A danger to my fellow humans? Should I be confined to bed (my fuzzy head and leaden limbs tell me I should definitely be in bed)? Or, am I just at odds with the life that's stirring in the earth and trees and such?

You're allergic to Spring when...

Allergy Season

Does this make your nose itch?

Allergy Season2

Are your teeth feeling the pollen in the air?

If so, you might have allergies!

The Science

Asthma Canada notes,

  • Respiratory allergies such as allergic rhinitis affect 1 in 5 Canadians
  • 80% of people with asthma also suffer from allergic rhinitis or sinusitis
  • Allergies can affect your quality of life at work, school, and play

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Health Link helpfully instructs,

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose.
  • Temporary loss of smell.
  • Headache and fatigue.
  • Dark circles under the eyes ("allergic shiners").
  • Drainage from the nose down the back of the throat (post-nasal drip).
  • Sore throat or coughing.
  • Snoring.

How can you help prevent seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are often caused by exposure to pollen. You can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

  • Keeping your house and car windows closed.
  • Limiting the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high (during midday and afternoon).
  • Wearing a pollen mask or dust mask if you need to mow the lawn.
  • Limiting your mowing tasks if you can.
  • Rinsing your eyes with cool water or saline eyedrops to remove clinging pollen after you come indoors.
  • Taking a shower and changing your clothes after you work or play outside.

How can you treat seasonal allergies?

The following home treatment measures may help relieve your symptoms:

  • Clean the inside of your nose with salt water to clear a stuffy nose.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom and take hot showers to help clear a stuffy nose.
  • If your nose is red and raw from rubbing, put petroleum jelly on the sore area.
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medicine to help your symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • To relieve a stuffy nose, use a steroid nasal spray (such as Nasacort). A steroid nasal spray can also help with red, itchy, watery eyes.
    • Another way to relieve a stuffy nose is a nasal or oral decongestant (such as Sudafed PE). Decongestants may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems.
    • For itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; or a runny, itchy nose, try a non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, like fexofenadine (such as Allegra) or loratadine (such as Claritin). Older antihistamines, like chlorpheniramine (such as Chlor-Tripolon) and diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl), are less expensive but can make you feel sleepy or tired. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
    • To help relieve pain, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Stuck indoors during allergy season

COVID will affect exposure to seasonal allergies. Many of us are restricting our outdoor movements already. If you're like me, you're making steady use of your Claritin when you do venture out. And we can agree that a few seasonal discomforts aren't really all that bad in light of what we might be facing. Here's to clear airways and sturdy health!

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Good Customer Service

Good customer service is the go-to for Canadian business.
How does that land with you? 'Too strong a statement? Maybe you have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the service industry. Or, if you're a lucky gal like me, you encounter good to exceptional service everywhere you go.

Chilling on the 'phone

We are in unprecedented times (I believe that's the new buzz word? And an apt one it is!). Every service we attempt to access is embroiled in a new business normal. If you're deemed essential, you're working like a drone. 'Probably for less pay. Furthermore, you're punching in hours and rolling out results just as quickly as you can type, haul, drive, teach, ring-up, or cheerily choke out one more, "Good afternoon! How may I help you today?"

Like you, I've spent more time on hold in the past few weeks than I'd spent in the past several years combined. So many hours spent (musac pulsing in my offended ears) waiting for my essential server to assist. And assist they have. Every time. Knowledgeably, kindly, and efficiently...if a bit wearily.

In most recent days, I've had the chance to be the one offering a service on that same phone. I'm the one you've grown to dread: the telemarketer! Well, not exactly. I'm not selling anything at all. But I have been cold-calling area mechanics to let them know we're here to help. We can haul junkers from their properties quick-as-quick, and for free. Regardless of what's on offer, cold-calling is not always equated with good customer service!

Above the crowd

In reaching out to hundreds of Calgary businesses I've noticed some stand-out responses. Good customer service begins with that first "Hello! *insert company name here*, Bill speaking..." A gal can tell right off the hop if she's encountered a professional. I hear the layers of busy, work-weary, bored, and disinterested. Moreover, I know if you're placating me, or if you care about me as a caller.

A hang-up, "Click!" is rarely the answer to my offer of free tow support on behalf of our 900+ Canadian charities. "I don't have time for this!" is an occasional, frazzled response. But most often, in this deliciously polite country of ours, those busy mechanics hear me out. They ask questions. They express interest in receiving information for their customers (because what we provide their business will only help the people they serve every day).

In Calgary, two companies stand out as offering extraordinary care over the phone. These shops are clearly busy, but their calls are answered with patience, curiosity, and genuine interest. Who are these staff-who-made-my-job-a-joy? Auto Pro (you name the location, they're wonderful!), and OK Tire. OK Tire, particularly, made a mundane task feel like a purposeful and important gig.

While we can't speak to their car repair services, I know with certainty that they have good customer service on offer at the switchboard. That's no small thing in strangely tired and stressed-out times.

Your free tow

'Interested in taking advantage of our free tow support for yourself? Check us out...

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Stollery Children’s Hospital

The Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation (SCHF) is a frequently-gifted charity. We're currently working with over 900 others to raise ongoing donations, too! Recently the SCHF reached out to give us a little update on our partnership.

How it all adds up

Our more well-known charities pack quite a punch in inspiring donations. It's not unusual for the most broadly known to draw five or six digit figures over the course of a year. This past year, the Stollery Children's Hospital was one of those charities!

This past year alone, vehicles like yours contributed to a total of $34, 892.00 being gifted to the hospitalthrough Donate a Car Canada.

Why this matters

Our contact at the SCHF sent us this gentle reminder of how your donation dollars impact real children:

"Madelyn was born with a serious heart problem. At only seven days old, doctors at the Stollery performed open-heart surgery on her tiny heart. Her heart was just the size of a walnut. Now two years old, Madelyn has survived two heart surgeries and is awaiting her third. She continues to grow and hit milestone after milestone at home.
Thank you for helping the Stollery care for kids like Madelyn – it’s incredibly inspiring to know that you continue to think of others during what has proven to be a difficult time for us all. Because of you, we can make sure the Stollery’s front-line caregivers have the support and specialized equipment they need to continue delivering urgent, critical care
to those who need it most. Together, we can give kids from backyards across Alberta and beyond the best chance to live a long and healthy life."

Joanna Begg Pattison, BA
Senior Manager, Community Initiatives
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

Find out more

'Curious about what else is happening at the SCHF? Check out the Stollery web site for so many details about their mission and their patients. Interested in donating your car to help in their ongoing efforts to help vulnerable kids? We can help with that!

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Peace in a Pandemic

Finding peace in a disrupted time is tough. For many of our receiving charities, that's they're work-a-day gig. They companion people in disrupted life circumstances.

What is peace, anyway?

The word peace may mean something different to you than it does to me. For some, peace is a feeling of calm, or the absence of conflict. Some people experience peace as the lack of any emotion at all. Others feel at peace when they have a sense of control in their lives.

I've come to identify peace as a quiet heart. Sometimes that means a feeling of spaciousness in my mind, heart, or even body. Another way of describing that is the ability to take a deep, deep breath -- a feeling of relaxation and permission even when circumstances are very difficult.

That seems to be an important thing about peace? It is a sense of rightness, quiet, or well-being even when things all around are wobbling. Maybe even downright awful.

Can I find calm...even now?

What has the COVID-19 Pandemic been like for you? Are you having difficult finding peace in the midst of global fear? There are resources near you that can give you a little back-up if that's what you need. Seek them out. Your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are worth the effort.

You may be someone who has had a gentle experience of this unprecedented upheaval. If so, might you be one who offers peace to others? You may be one of the helpers. If so, thank you! Please take care of your Self while you're reaching out to others. And if you're having moments when a quiet heart is illusive, reach out for your own supports, ok? We need you to keep getting your own cup filled up so that you can continue to share with others.

What DACC is doing to help

Here at Donate a Car Canada we continue to work through this crisis time to aid Canadian charities in their ongoing work. Sometimes cool cash is the best way to bring calm into the midst of a storm. Part of our role in all of this is to keep right on processing vehicle donations. Those donations result in the much-needed dollars our charities depend on to keep purveying goodness in our hurting world. Thank you for considering how you might be a part of that!

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