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Dr. Joel: Tennessee Volunteers need Zyrtec, immunotherapy for severe allergic reactions

Because hey, if Lou Holtz can do it, so can I.

CALLER IDENTITY REDACTED OUT OF HIPAA CONCERNS: Hey, Dr. Joel. I haven't been feeling myself lately. I'll wake up in the morning all refreshed and everything, and then, without warning, the front falls off. I've emailed you my films. Could you take a look and tell me what's wrong with me?

DR. JOEL: Hmm. Let's take a look:

Full Screen Version

Hmm. Yes. Here it is. Let me ask you, are there times when you are experiencing unexplained inflammation and irritation? Yes? How about coughing, sputtering? Mmm-hmm. Is it sometimes sensitive to the touch, painful? Do you sometimes have trouble breathing?

Okay. Here's the most important question: do you generally experience these symptoms after punting and in the red zone?

I thought so.


You are experiencing very serious allergic reactions to the Punt Coverage and Red Zone Allergens. Take a closer look at the film. See that first long blue line? There should be an orange one directly underneath of it. There is no trace of it, however, because you regressed 15 yards on a personal foul penalty, which put you into an acute down and distance close to the red zone, which in turn resulted in a fumble and an easy field goal for the other team.

Also, do you see that first orange line? There should be a long, segmented line attached to the end of it. There is no trace of it, however, because you exposed yourself to something to which your body does not respond well. Brandon James is a well-known, aggressive and elusive airborne particle, and your hypersensitivity to the Punt Coverage Allergen resulted in an improper activation of your immune system. The usual consequence of this is extreme inflammation of the fan base.

The respective lengths of the next two orange lines indicate that other than your significant allergic reactions, you are actually quite healthy. You made as many first downs as your opponent, and you actually outgained the No. 4 team in the country in total yardage. Congratulations. That's the good news.

However, the odds of you going into anaphylactic shock increase exponentially with exposure to the Red Zone Allergen. In laymen's terms, your face puffs up and bloats like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon! LOL!

Ahem. Sorry. Therein lies the crux of the problem, and you'd better sit down before I tell you the bad news: You, sir, are allergic to what is good for you.

I won't lie to you, and I won't sugarcoat it. Everybody has allergies, and most people go on to live healthy, happy lives. But when you're allergic to the cure, well, that is indeed serious. If we don't treat it aggressively, it can be fatal.

Treatment Plan.


The first course of treatment involves simple avoidance. This should work wonders with respect to the Punt Coverage Allergen. I know that it's tempting to kick the ball high and deep and that it's one-third of the game and all, but unfortunately for you, it's one-third of the game that could kill you. If you must punt, do so in a manner that does not require you to tackle the punt returner. In short, punt out of bounds. Avoid the allergen all together, and you should be fine.

Simple avoidance, however, won't work for the Red Zone Allergen. More aggressive treatment is required for that malady. I prescribe a parallel, two-pronged attack: First, I'm giving you a script for a regimen of antagonistic pharmaceuticals to block the action of allergic mediators. In other words, take two Zyrtec if you anticipate being in the red zone and call me at halftime. Second, we'll use immunotherapy to desensitize you to the effect of the Red Zone Allergen through a gradual vaccination process, exposing you to greater and greater amounts of the allergen over time. In other words, practice in the red zone. Get used to it. It is your friend. Do it over and over and over again. This may not eliminate the hypersensitivity completely, but it may reduce the severity of the reaction.

Thanks for calling, and good luck!