It is Allergy awareness week here in the U.K this week (20th-26th April) and I wanted to post a link to the Allergy UK website as they are profiling some research that has been done recently.
I thought I'd write a slightly different post today, one which tries to show what it is like to live with food allergies as an adult.
It was very scary as an adult having an allergic reaction.
I hadn't eaten anything new.
I'd only ever been allergic to cats, wasp stings and had hayfever.
Other than taking antihistamines and my inhaler I wasn't sure what to do after I managed to leave the bathroom.
After taking the antihistamine tablet I waited for it to take effect.
When, after about 15 minutes the hives were getting bigger and I was still needing my blue inhaler, I took another one, I wasn't sure I should, but didn't know what else to do. Luckily for me I knew I could take the inhaler frequently and this second tablet helped.
I was very lucky, I should have dialled 999 and got an ambulance out, and I was told off when I went to the Dr's the following day, my face still slightly puffy from the night before.
Then whilst on the waiting list to be seen at the allergy clinic (about a 6-9 month wait) I was out with family and had another reaction. This one was different, I didn't swell up, I wasn't struggling to breathe, I didn't have to rush off to the bathroom, so I didn't think it was a bad reaction.
Then I felt faint, very faint and hot, like I was on fire on the inside. If I hadn't been sat down, I would have fainted, however I shoved my head between my legs managed to take a couple of antihistamines and waited, luckily the tablets began to help, I went home and, again, very luckily was ok.
I have since learned that both of these times I should have called 999, I didn't have an epipen at the time, but if I had one, both of these reactions warranted using it and after you use an epipen you should dial 999. I am extremely thankful that I was ok and am here, with epipens and now diagnosed allergies, through blood tests, to:
lupin, soya, and kiwi
An unconfirmed allergy to Quorn (my first reaction) although a skin prick was negative I will never eat it again, and it is an easy one to avoid.
I am waiting for my next appointment (15 months from the last one) to be tested for peas, wheat, celery, apples and chocolate (so far). Whilst none of the reactions I have had to those have been life threatening, they have all triggered an itchy throat, a feeling of slight swelling, triggered my asthma, or sent me running for the bathroom, and so I have cut them out.
I know how scared I was when I had the reactions, how I gauge, very carefully exactly how I'm feeling if I start to suspect a reaction, how I take an anti-histamine straight away and make sure my epipens are nearby.
How uncertain you feel trying something new, and how disappointing it is when a product you like changes it's recipe and you can no longer eat it because it now says 'may contain' Sure, it could be ok, it only says 'may contain' but change soya to rat poison, and change my product to your dinner, would you eat it?
You might be lucky, it might not contain it!
I'll be back tomorrow, writing from the perspective of a parent to a child/children with food allergies.
I will do a blog on how and when to use your auto-injector too.
Lupin Girl x