Posted on: Sat, 10/19/2019 - 3:08am
Penwiggle's picture
Joined: 10/19/2019 - 02:37


I just recently turned 54, and thought I had all my allergies figured out and under control. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I've always been allergic to penicillin and several antibiotics, and yes I occasionally have problems with mild hay fever. But, I had long ago figured out how to manage those allergies, and as I'm now in my 50s, never really thought much about other allergies.

On 4 July I had an allergic reaction to something. No idea what, although I now suspect nuts. My hands started to itch, then a rash spread around my body wherever there was a fold in the skin, e.g. behind the knees, groin area, etc. It was annoying and I took a couple antihistamines and it faded after 4 or 5 hours.

A couple weeks later, same thing. But this time it came on faster, developed into proper hives and was starting to affect my breathing. So, I got in the car and drove the 30 minutes to the hospital where I was treated with more antihistamines and adrenaline. Again, I couldn't be sure of the source, but quite possibly, and probably, nuts.

We're now at the end of July, and it happened a 3rd time. This time it happened right after I ate a Yum Yum (a delicious pastry with no nuts, but made in a bakery where they use nuts). One small Yum Yum and I broke into a violent itchy rash with hives and I could feel me sinuses clogging up within about 15 minutes. Got in my car and drove to the hospital, again. By the time I made it to A&E, I was struggling to breathe and nearly passed out.

Eventually made it to an allergy clinic where I was tested, and came up positive for peanuts, most tree nuts, cats, dust mites, grass, trees & shrubs. I was prescribed an epipen, and told if it happens again to use the epipen and phone for an ambulance.

All that is interesting & scary, but not the most interesting part, at least from my perspective. It was the cat allergy that threw me for a loop. I own (well, owned) a cat, and wasn't aware of any allergic reactions from the cat. Little did I know....

On a separate note, I am a chronic headache sufferer. It's a long story I won't go into here, but I have been diagnosed with Chronic Daily Headaches, Chronic Migraines and Chronic Cluster Headaches. For the past 2-1/2 years, I've been averaging 15-35 headaches (of one type or the other) a month. 5 migraines + 7-9 headaches a week was pretty normal. In fact, my average for 2019 is 12 headaches & migraines a week.

Until I sent my cat to live with my son, then, literally overnight, my headaches and migraines dropped to 3 a week. And as I've cleaned and cleaned my house over the last few weeks, they are getting even better. I've cancelled 2 procedures at the hospital to treat my migraines because I don't need them anymore.

I don't believe the cat to be the root cause of my head-pain, I had these headaches long before I got a cat. And I don't know when my cat allergy started, or if it's always been there, or jumped on board with the nut allergies this year.

So now I've joined the crowd of people that reads every label before buying anything, and I don't eat anything freshly made in a bakery. And actually, if I want a yummy pastry or roll, I make it myself.

Anyway, that be my story.

Posted on: Sat, 10/19/2019 - 9:46am
sunshinestate's picture
Joined: 10/18/2019 - 09:21

hey there pen, thanks so much for sharing your story. it's truly amazing how you were able to get to the root of your headaches and stop the A&E visits all by seeing an allergist. i have friends who suffered for years with varying ailments and by seeing an allergist and living on an avoidance diet it changed their lives. my life revolves around label reading. i use apps to also verify label and their safety in terms of peanuts. this is a great place to be and get tips from people going through the same thing. we're all here to help.

Posted on: Sat, 10/19/2019 - 10:03am
Italia38's picture
Joined: 10/08/2019 - 12:01

Welcome Pen, good to have you here. One of my good friends developed their food allergy later in life. I've lived with mine all my life so it's been an interesting ride to say the least. I have to read every food label unless I am familiar with the product. And I started using the Allergy Eats app for dining out. I dine out and order take out a lot so it helps to use this app. If I randomly walk into a bakery or cafe, which I tend to do, I'll always talk to a manager or owner to make sure there's no peanuts or possiblity of cross contamination with peanuts. Like Sunshine said, we're all here to help one another. Glad to have you here.

Posted on: Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:38pm
absfabs's picture
Joined: 10/24/2019 - 12:04

Hi Pen, I'm new here too and it's good to be in a place where people get what I'm going through. Sometimes it feels like I'm speaking a foreign language when talking to friends about it. And when I'm out ordering a particular way I get annoyed looks at times from people who I'm out with. I don't think a lot of people know or understand that it can be a matter or life or death. Thank goodness for auto injectors. They're life savers and I don't go anywhere without one. I also use the Ipiit app when I'm out grocery shopping. It's so helpful and gives me peace of mind. But when it comes to baked goods, I avoid bakeries, and bake myself. Maybe that's be too overly cautious but I'd rather be over cautious then suffer a reaction.

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