I've been griping for some time now what a rotten year I've been having for (relatively low level) ill health in the form of repeated chest infections, the worst of which not only made me lose my voice but knocked me flat on my back for a couple of days when I was in Montreal (nearly a couple of months ago now).
About ten days ago, just before heading off to Newcastle for a week, I had a blood test and a chest X-ray. I met with my doctor this morning and found that, at the time of the X-ray, I had fairly bad bronchitis ... but nothing worse. Although this feels like it's cleared up - I feel fine and it'll be no problem to fly to LA in a couple of days - a bit of prodding with the stethoscope found that there is still some gunk in my lungs to be cleared up.
The blood test showed almost everything to be quite normal and healthy, except my cholesterol level has snuck up slightly and my uric acid level is still too high. My doctor is always imploring me to do something about the latter, or I'm going to end up with gout sooner or later. However, much as I don't want to become a gout-ridden old man when I grow up, it's easier said than done to drive the uric acid level down. When in LA I must try to avoid Jerry Coyne at meal times, knowing his dietary habits, or I'll real be in trouble. ;)
But relevantly to the present issue, there's an indication of allergic reaction to a variety of grasses - ragweed, rye grass, and on and on. So maybe I should never leave the safety of the city, with its nice artificial pollutants. (Unexpectedly, perhaps, last week's dramatic dust storms on the Australian east coast didn't seem to affect me at all.)
We'll be looking into this in a few weeks, when I'm back from my next batch of travels and my doctor is back from a hard-earned holiday that he's starting this evening. It's intriguing, though. I can't make any connection along the lines of "visit the countryside = get sick next day", but I have been travelling out in the countryside a lot more in the last year or two than I would normally, for one reason or other. Stay tuned, and we'll see how this little mystery turns out.