Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Allergies -- Nasal and Food

I grew up with major allergies. Spring meant sneezing, runny noses, and lots and lots of tissues. And at the age of 22 I had my first asthma attack. The family doctor I’d had since I was 14 said “I would have thought you’d grow out of it by now.” Hm, never had it! I did grow out of it, but still.

My experience with an allergist was interesting. He was great, and naturally the tests showed I was allergic to many trees, plants, bushes, you name it. And raw tomatoes – yet cooked was okay and the funniest thing yet – marijuana. No wonder I had allergy attacks at college parties. :}

I have friends with serious food allergies and I can only imagine what they go through. It came even closer to home about eight or nine years ago when my mom went through a frightening time.

We’d been out and had Chinese food for lunch. A couple hours later, Mom complained of itching and I could see a rash on her skin. I knew it was an allergic reaction and wanted her to take an antihistamine, but she was afraid it wouldn’t work. Since the doctor’s office was closed, I had to take her to the medical group’s Urgent Care when they opened. By then, she was miserable.

We’re maybe fourth or fifth on the sign in sheet and I kept telling the receptionist that this was serious. And I noticed the waiting patients ahead of Mom refused to look at her even as you could see the rash moving up her chest.

Let’s just say I was more than rude to the receptionist, threats of the police, and so on. Luckily, a nurse came out, took one look at Mom and ran back for the doctor who came out, grabbed a wheelchair and took Mom to the back. Receptionist and I traded glares and it got nastier after the doctor later came out and tore the receptionist a new one. He told her if that rash had gone further up my mom’s throat and face it could have killed her. I sat on my hands so they wouldn’t end up around the receptionist’s throat.

By the time they released Mom, she was one very happy woman. Not itching and just floating while she’s telling me she’s hungry. I laughed, so relieved she was okay and we had a prescription for something to help any itching. The guys at the fast food restaurant we stopped at thought a loopy woman was cute.

It turned out she was allergic to soy. You’d be amazed how many products have soy. Foods, skin care products, you name it.

We look at the packages. She tried a new face cream that had soy in it and luckily, she did a patch test and only got a tingle from it. No Chinese food except for sweet and sour chicken at our favorite restaurant since there’s no soy in it.

It’s so sad because my mom’s food choices have become more and more limited. Some cereals she’d like to try have soy. Many frozen entrees have it. I don’t know what she’d do if peanut butter had soy in it.

Yes, she’d be even more restricted if she had a wheat or dairy allergy, but soy is showing up more and more.

I have a third cousin allergic to chocolate. Now that would be just downright criminal!

What about you? Any allergies you don’t like to think about?



  1. I'm allergic to raw onions. Nothing serious. They just give me a headache, but it's annoying. Cooked onions are fine. But it makes eating potato salad fun. *g*

    And don't get me started on some of the clueless, insensitive people who work as office staff at the doctors offices.

  2. Oh no, Tori. Some of it's really weird, isn't it?

    We're lucky with our family doctor and staff.

    Only other time something was bad was with my mom when she had a heart attack and in the hospital. Nurse was three hours later with her nitro patch. I totally tore that nurse a new one. Mom pretended not to know me. And Mom's roomie asked if I'd speak to her nurse. :}

    I told my dad what I did and he said good, fine by him.

    There's times we have to do whatever we can.

  3. I have a similar reaction to all things...crab. Not fun!

  4. I can totally picture that scene. I would have been livid and probably knocked her on her arse!

  5. Lizzie,

    Just crab or all shellfish? I know that allergy can be very dangerous.

  6. Elle,

    It could have come to that even if she was a lot taller and bigger than me. She had that attitude that really ticks me off.

    I have a lot of nurse friends and they've told me they would have decked her too.

  7. Hi,

    You have a nice blog. I just thought of mentioning about this website www.dustmitesallergies.org. They seem to offer specialized advice of dust mite allergy.

  8. My best friend is allergic to corn. She used to come to work with swollen eyes and lips and have no idea what caused it--she was a junk food junkie (yep, all that high fructose corn syrup). Finally had tests run, and now she knows, but it hides in insidious little places, like pure vanilla extract and the polish they put on "fresh" fruits and vegetables. She hasn't had to carry adrenaline though since we discovered the homeopathic remedy, Apis. It really works with no "loopy" side effects.

  9. Wow, you'd never think of corn. And great she found something that works.