What do you have in common with violent criminals?
It’s January, and in Central Texas this is the time of year we take pictures of ourselves doing all the outside things: eating, hiking, riding bikes and sometimes even swimming. We post these pictures on social media so our snowbound friends and family will be jealous and to remind ourselves, during the hellscape of Summer, that good weather is coming. Mostly it’s the former.
If you take a really good look at the background of these pictures, you might see a green haze. That haze is one of the heaviest releases of juniper pollen in the world. Locals call it Cedar Fever, which is a curious name given that the trees are not cedars and rarely cause fevers. A more accurate name would be Juniper Rhinitis Miserable Hangover, but I guess Cedar Fever has more zazz.
Have you ever woken up with terrible dry mouth and the awful realization that you drank too much the night before but you can’t call into work because you were drinking with co-workers and you have this moment when you realize that today is going to be long and difficult? That is pretty much what Cedar Fever is like. You have the dry mouth because you can’t breathe through your nose and you feel like you drank too much. But you can’t just stay in bed because everyone else at work is suffering too. So you have this moment when you realize that today is going to be long and difficult.
Sometimes, however, the pollen counts are so high that absenteeism does go up. Researchers call this a health shock and health shocks caused by heavy pollen counts have an interesting unforeseen consequence; violent crime goes down. It turns out that what you have in common with violent criminals is that when you have allergies so bad that you, “can’t even”, violent criminals “can’t even” either. That spreadsheet you were going to work on won’t get done but neither will the carjacking someone else planned. The effect size researchers found was about 4%. That may not sound like much, but to get a roughly equivalent drop in crime you would have to increase your police force by 10% or the prison population by 20%. While the effect size looks small, it is hugely consequential.
I like to imagine a gang-hardened, face-tatted, ne’er-do-well getting behind on his to-do list because the pollen counts are so high. His girlfriend is taking good care of him and reassuring him that maybe tomorrow will be the day he can get out of bed and get back to doing crimes.
Psssst… Don’t tell our imaginary criminal here, but this is why we make Easy Breather; so you can get back doing what is important, whether that is running your business or planning a bank heist.* We don’t want the pollen count to slow you down.
*Herbalogic does not condone the use of its products in conjunction with crime of any sort.