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10.0 Personal stories


This article is from the Children Allergies and Asthma FAQ, by Eileen Kupstas Soo kupstas@cs.unc.edu with numerous contributions by others.

10.0 Personal stories

From: aiko@epoch.com (Aiko Pinkoski)

I have had seasonal hayfever starting about 8 years ago,
usually pretty severely the last 5 years. I basically just
pray for an easy spring :-) I have not seriously considered shots due
to inconvenience and my phobia of needles. Now I've learnt to
recognize the early symptoms and start my "preventive maintenance"
drugs early, esp. since some of them do not start working right away
And if I wait too long (I did this a couple of years since I don't
usually like medication) I'll end up with asthma.

Our 3 year old seems to be getting hayfever symptoms for the
first time. She complains of itchy eyes, has a clear runny
nose, and coughs a lot *at night* (probably because of post nasal drip,
I have to sleep sitting up at the height of allergy season). I just
spoke to our pediatric RN & she said for young children they will try
to medicate as little as possible as long as there is no fever, she is
eating, and not having trouble breathing. The recommended treatment is
a small dose of Dimetapp or Triaminic (combination drugs below) at
bedtime & naps). I am hoping that it might still just be a cold since
apparently 3 is rather young to get hayfever ...

But her father, my husband, only has mild pollen allergies now
but apparently was allergic to EVERYTHING (except food) as he
was growing up from a very young age. His eyes would be glued shut in
the mornings and his mother would steam them open with hot towels. He
had a series of shots and that may have helped, or he just outgrew them
naturally--he is not sure himself if the shots really worked.

Also an interesting fact I just found out--a food allergy is
not "having a badly upset stomach and intestinal pains when you
eat X"--at least one allergist nurse I spoke with (about possibly
getting tested for food allergies) said that I probably wouldn't test
positive to the allergy tests if I did not get hives or swelling.... I
am just "intolerant" and was just told not to eat X. Avoidance is also
the only "treatment" if they positively identify X but avoiding
something is more difficult when you suspect what X is but am not
really sure, which is my situation :-(

This is a bit of my experience, to give you a bit of hope..
light at the end of the tunnel and all.

I have been tested several times for allergies. All my doctors have
been careful to tell me that the results are NOT conclusive
evidence that one is allergic to a substance, just that one
MAY be allergic to it. I have been tested as sensitive to:
tomatoes, eggs, all molds in any form (air, food, etc.),
bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, colas, chocolate, caramel coloring,
wheat, oranges, potatoes, etc. (I just forget the rest... it's
quite a list.) I am (or was) somewhat sensitive to all these at
one point. I find now, after 10 years, I am less sensitive to
some of these, more sensitive to new things. The list keeps
changing. What is encouraging is that, after avoiding the food
for awhile, I find I am able to tolerate it in small quantities.
Now, I can have one serving of wheat a day (two average slices
of bread) without a hassle, as long as I don't have other foods
I am sensitive to that day. On great days, I can have spaghetti
in tomato sauce with no reaction. The orange allergy seems to be
bogus, as does the potato allergy. No problems yet with them. So,
check with your allergist, but you may find that the test results
are not 100% accurate. An elimination diet can test this out. (No
fun, but a great way to start eating a healthy diet and lose a
bit of weight, if you're so inclined.) I find the best indicator
is my stress level -- if it's high, avoid everything suspect. If
it's low, go ahead and try the foods. NOTE: this all assumes that
your reactions are not life-threatening or too severe. DO NOT
eat anything that is likely to cause severe reactions without
your doctor's consent.

Two other helps for me are allergy desensitization shots for
the mold allergies and a good antihistamine. The shots have
brought my mold allergies down to tolerable levels, so I can
eat cultered and fermented things again. The reduction in the
mold allergy also lets me eat some of the other suspect things
a bit more freely, since the total dose of allergens for the
day is lower. Also, if you can tolerate them, antihistamines
can help a lot when you know your going to be eating things
you aren't supposed to (like Christmas time, etc -- hard not
to have at least one cookie, a bit of something else..) Again,
this is only if the reaction is not too severe or life-threatening.
Some people find antihistamines make them quite drowsy; I don't
have this problem (or the reduction in allergy symptoms over-
shadows the little bit of drowsy..)

Not that this is much hope, either, but allergies may become less
severe after menopause ( a bit far off for me, but I can hope..)


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