Saturday, January 12, 2013

Allergies. I haz 'em.

So I made it through allergy testing - not more than a couple hours' worth - Thursday and Friday.

Here's what I learned, in the tester's words: I am "allergic to everything."

Who knew? I mean sure, I deal with the occasional headache or tummyache. I have eczema. I get hives now and then. I pretty much always have some sort of drainage in the back of my throat and my nose runs constantly. At times my eyes are so itchy and watery that I'm afraid people think I'm crying. And then there's the sneezing and coughing and throat-clearing. And wheezing.

Umm, OK. When I write it out like that it does seem like a lot. And truly, I do deal with some sort of discomfort every single day. I guess it's just something I got used to, and I didn't know those various discomforts were (most likely) related.

None of my allergies is life-threatening at this point, but I was given a prescription for an Epi-pen as a precaution. I'm told I reacted quickly and pretty severely to ragweed and grasses, but there was some reaction to every single thing they tested. Dogs and cats, various molds, trees, weeds, foods, and (ick) dust mites. Cow's milk - this I had suspected for some time, actually, and had cut back on my milk consumption. White potatoes, of all things. Interestingly, I had a roast in the slow cooker and planned to have carrots and potatoes with it Friday evening (after testing). I went ahead with my plan, knowing the potatoes were on my list, thinking I would just see how my body handled it. Lo and behold, I went to bed with a headache that night. Sure, the headache could have been caused by anything, but now I know to pay attention to how my body reacts when I consume certain things. If I get a headache the next few times I eat potatoes, guess who's not eating potatoes anymore?

All the information I was given was a bit overwhelming at first, but now that I've had a little time to digest it I am thinking about how I can implement some changes here at home. It will take some effort to keep up with the dust mites and pet dander, but I am resolved to more frequent dusting, vacuuming, and laundering. I'm so glad we had central air installed last summer so I don't have to open windows and invite the pollens in from outside. Plans to remove carpeting in favor of hard surface floors will be put on the fast track. I'll be researching air filters and I already received a quote (*choke*) for sealing our crawlspace under the house to combat the dampness.

As far as the foods, there are some things I will just avoid. Most things aren't worth feeling like junk. For those I reacted to, I have been directed to do a "challenge" diet. So I would eliminate, say, any sort of milk from my diet for four days, then add it back in on the fifth day and write down how my body reacts. I will share those records with the doctor when I see him again in six weeks. The gal who tested me said she's certain the doc will recommend allergy shots. Yay.

So. That's that. I have some challenges ahead, but at least I know there is something I can do to help myself feel better, and having some answers is a relief. I expect when I see the doctor next month I will also hear about my breathing test and whether there is also an element of asthma going on here.

Moving forward. That's all I can do.

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