Wednesday, May 10, 2006


My head is much better (thanks so much for all the sympathy) but now a sinus infection and a cough have made me sick as a dog and I can only muster up enough energy to post this photo of the cat from down the street.

Why the cat? Well, I know he's gorgeous and all that, but what I'm really looking for are some recommendations on allergy medications from people living in Germany.

You see, next week I'll be visiting Jen in Darmstadt. I understand that she has myriad cats, and seeing as Mother Nature has graced me with a wicked cat allergy, I want to be prepared instead of being reduced to a sniffling, sneezing, itchy mess. That's no fun.

I am Paul. Fear me. I have the power
to make you sneeze on command...

I'm familiar with Lorano (loratadine), which I've taken before in Canada under the name of Claritin, but I'd like to know if anyone has had a good experience in Germany with any other kind of antihistamine.

That's all for now. If you need me, I'll be the one snuggled up to a big bowl of boiling water with a towel over my head.

Oh, just one more thing - were you aware that when Germans sneeze it's "hatschi!" instead of "achoo!"? Fascinating, no?


At May 10, 2006 1:30 p.m., Blogger Lisa said...

Other Germanisms I've found fascinating and funny:
(phonetically because I can't spell them)
-Owa!/Owchee! = Ouch!
(the -ee ending added to anything applicable making it all creamy and sweet and utterly puke-able)
-Hoopla! = Oops!
-Nakedei = naked
-Popalapop! = haven't a clue, this is by far the silliest expression I've heard
-"-lein" or "-chen" added to the end of something you want to make sound tiny and cute, like Muttilein, Omilein, Brüderchen, Löffelchen, etc. *hurl* etc.

Christina, do you know of more?

P.S. For any beloved German people who may be reading this, this is not nationalism. America has just as many cutesy little phrases. And if it'll sell the newest fad, they'll make up more. Yuck.

At May 10, 2006 2:21 p.m., Blogger Ms Mac said...

Is "tik tak tok" not German for "blah blah blah", that could be Swiss.

I love "Ju hu!" for "Woo hoo!" and the fact that Swiss cows say, "Muuuuuuuhhhhh!"

Sorry I can't help you with the cat allergy thingy. I just try to steer clear of them altogether. A pair of cats nearly killed me once with their evil fur! Did you know that it's cat saliva we are allergic to and not actually the fur? Which is why cat allergies are more common than dog allergies. Cats saliva is evil and more widespread across a cat's fur than dog saliva.

At May 10, 2006 2:34 p.m., Blogger Antipodeesse said...

And the silly French say 'Atchoum!', which is downright ridiculous, non?

WHen I lived in Munich, Bavarians said "schicki micki", to mean elegant, pretty or dressed up. I found that very catchy and still say it, 20 years later, to the bewilderment of my entire entourage.

At May 10, 2006 2:36 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Lisa - There are just so many. I'll try to think of some more. When I was taking German courses about a hundred years ago an English friend and I used to tell our teacher what a "cutesy" language German is, not in a bad way, it just is. Good thing she had sense of humour. :-)

Ms Mac - I haven't heard tick tak tock - must be Swiss, but we use Ju hu! too. I also like Hallöchen!

Yeah, I knew about the saliva thing - very tricky. Even if all the hair is vaccumed up and I don't even go near a cat, if it's been in the room, or anywhere in the house, really, I start to itch. Lucky me - I'm also allergic to horses, rabbits and guinea pigs, but not dogs or cows. Or chocolate, thank goodness :-)

At May 10, 2006 2:42 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Antipo - Atchoum? Oui, oui, very ridiculous. Makes you wonder who decided these things, doesn't it? Schicki micki is still common usage up here in the north. I also enjoy etepete to describe a snobbish or posh person. I really should make a list of thes. They're too funny.

At May 10, 2006 4:42 p.m., Anonymous Belinda said...

lol it's so cute to see the little words from around Germany. In my area we speak a strange Platdeutsch. Glad to hear you're feeling better :o) I didn't get the sniffles from all this ridiculous pollen but I've been coughing heaps. It's so irritating as I've never had allergies before, even mildly :o(

I personally like "Halihallo". It sounds like one is singing.

At May 10, 2006 4:51 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

They said this is supposedly this is the worst allergy season ever. Not sure where but maybe it has effected you. I hope you feel better and well I hope you find a medicine. I forgot what I took that really worked, sorry..

At May 10, 2006 7:24 p.m., Blogger PapaScott said...

This is the worst hay fever season I've experienced in Germany. I suspect that because spring was delayed so long this year, everything started pollenating at once.

I'm having moderate success with Cetirizin bolstered with Scotch and water.

At May 10, 2006 7:36 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Belinda - Plattdeutsch is pretty funny as well. I've been coughing on and off since about November 2005 and I'm pretty sure it's some kind of allergy but this spring has been really bad for a lot of people.

Expat - The allergy season around here usually starts in February/March when the hazelnut trees bloom and keeps on going right into fall. There's always something out there to get you.:-)

PapaScott - Yeah, I guess the long winter could have something to do with it. They say the birch trees are producing tons of pollen this year.

At May 10, 2006 8:16 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Oh gosh! All I'm allergic to is nickel. My sister-and-law took Zyrtec against dog allergies. You can get it in Switzerland (over the counter), but I know that in Holland, you need a prescription. You might want to ask you pharmacist. Hope I could help and return the favour (CDN family application) ;-) Get well soon!

At May 10, 2006 8:33 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Thanks, CS! I just looked up Zyrtec and it's available here too without a prescription so I'll ask the pharmacist what she recommends. I also have a nickel allergy. Fun stuff. :-)

At May 11, 2006 2:44 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I declare, Christina--every time I come to your blog I learn something new! I love it. I was going to say the same thing--that your pharmacist could probably help you out. But you already know that. Have a great time at Jen's, in spite of her cats!

At May 11, 2006 8:54 a.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

Okay, I don't really have a cat allergy, but I'm down with a cold at the moment and the weather in Munich is driving me nuts. It's almost the middle of May and yesterday it was like 7°C in the morning! And it stayed pretty cold the whole day long! *arrrrgh*

At May 11, 2006 3:42 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Zyrtec is good, but beware, it can make you sleepy!

I developed allergies a couple years ago, AFTER I'd had my cat for a while. I've found that the nasal spray Flonase helps me. "Fluticasone propionate," says the label.

But anyway... I don't live in Germany, so I may be no help at all.

I did put some photos on my blog that should cheer you up, and they won't even make you sneeze! ;)

At May 11, 2006 11:48 p.m., Blogger Mike B said...

Yep, pollen exploding out of everything down here in FfM. It rained the other day, and I thought the brownish-yellowish streak was gravy or oil or something ... then I realized it was pollen. Sorry I don't have any tips for antihistimines ...

The eyes on that cat ... retouched, or is he possessed?

At May 12, 2006 7:57 a.m., Blogger christina said...

ginnie - We never stop learning, eh? You know me - I want everyone to know everything. :-)

elemm - Hope your cold goes away fast. I'm surprised it was so cool in Munich. You'll probably get the hot weather and the thunder storms this weekend.

Angie - Thanks! I'd like to find something "non-drowsy" - don't want to spend my visit sleeping! They do have Zyrtec here and Flonase too.

Mike - It's pretty bad up here as well with the pollen. Makes me itch just thinking about it.

The cats eyes aren't retouched. Must have been the light. He's actually a very sweet and friendly little guy and only acts possessed when he's begging for snacks. :-)

At May 20, 2006 5:22 a.m., Anonymous Mathias said...

Other medical stuff:

- Xusal / Xusal A (prescription only, UCB Pharma, Levocetirizin-dihydrochlorid)
-> reduces allergy effects

- anything with Cromoglycinsäure (cromoglycine acid) reduces the impact of allergies on eyes & nose. Most stuff containing this is available without prescription. Eyes and nose don't get swollen that much. Reduces itching very much. Is available as spray for the nose and as drops for the eyes.
My recommendation is a box of 'Vividrin Iso EDO' for your eyes, manufactured by Dr. Mann Pharma, Berlin, and available for around € 6.- for 20 mini "ophioles" That are miniature bottles containing the fluid. This is more package than a single bottle, but it won't expire as fast as a single bottle (which you should throw away after a month for sterility reasons). I have used it to fight my itching eyes whenever visiting my parents - I 've got an allergy on house dust & house dust mites.

Some recommendations for searching for medicaments:
- - a kind of medicament catalogue/search engine, in German
- - for researching about side effects, detailed instructions, notices for professionals... For a reason I don't understand yet, this information is available to medical professionals only in Germany. If the stuff is traded with the same name in Switzerland, or if you know its main indegrients, you will find many useful informations here.


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