Living With Allergies (Guest Post by my Daughter)

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I asked my teen daughter Alastrin to share what it’s been like living with allergies and she did a great job. If you take the time to read some or all of it, please consider commenting and/or sharing her post so she knows you were here.

Living With Allergies - as written by my teenage daughter

Living With Allergies by Alastrin

When I was around 7 years old, I started to get hives when around our cat. So, I got an appointment for an allergy test. From my point of view, all I really remember is having to lay their while they pricked my back 50 times, which I did not like, and then being really itchy and a little sore after. Then the doctor came back and there was a list of stuff I was allergic too; dogs, cats, hamsters, they said basically any animal with fur, feathers, weeds, pollen, and mold. That really sucked because animals and nature were two things I loved. They said I had to come back and get the test again in 5 years, which I was also not thrilled about, to see if any allergies had gone away or if I’d developed any more. 

Camping With Allergies

I was, and still am a Girl Guide. So, we would go camping all the time, and I love camping. There was no way I was going to give up camping because of my allergies. Camping did involve a little extra thought into it though. As soon as I woke up every morning, I had to take an allergy pill. Even then, for the first hour or so I kept sneezing, my nose was runny, my eyes wouldn’t stop watering, and they were so itchy and burning. I’m pretty sure I even got some hives if I touched some of the plants, until the pill kicked in.

Alastrin at Girl Guide CampThat’s definitely not as bad as some other people’s allergy symptoms might be, and I am so grateful for that, but in the moment when it was happening, it sucked. The medicine seemed to wear off near the end of the day, so we would be having a campfire and I would just feel horrible. My eyes would not stop burning among other things, and to make things worse I always had to take my puffer before the campfire because of my asthma. Even then, it didn’t always seem to work the best. 

I have to deal with the same type of thing when I go to pet my dog, have the window open because it’s hot, going outside to get some fresh air, and have recess at school.  

Adding New Allergies

When I was 12 years old, I had the opportunity to go to a week long summer camp that involved horse-back riding. I was not going to pass up an opportunity like that, and I was scheduled to have a second allergy test soon anyway, so instead we got it Allergic to all fur, all feathers and all naturebumped up before my trip. We wanted to see if I was allergic to horses and to maybe get a stronger allergy pill since I was going to be around a lot of nature and a lot of animal fur for a whole week. I got the test done again, and instead of possibly some of my allergies going away I just got diagnosed with more. I was allergic to horses, bunnies, stuff like pollen in grass and flowers, and trees. 

That basically made it official that I was allergic to all fur, all feathers, and all nature. I got a prescription for a stronger allergy pill, and it was pretty good. I only sneezed like twice a day, when I was with the horses.

So, when I go camping or cuddle with my dog or something like that, I take an allergy pill, but I can’t take it all the time or it wouldn’t really work anymore, so when the windows open or I go outside for recess I’ve just kind of learned to deal with it. There is no season I’m not dealing with something. In spring and summer, it’s my normal allergies, in fall there’s certain types of trees that are worse, and in winter it’s my asthma because of colds. 

Now a Food Allergy too?!

Just recently, a little over a month ago, I yet again got diagnosed with another allergy. But, in my opinion, I think it’s worse and more complicated than all my other allergies. At age 13, I just got diagnosed with having a milk allergy. We were a bit surprised, that it was what we thought, a milk allergy, because it is very rare to get diagnosed with a milk allergy later on instead of as a baby.

Although, from ever since I can remember I’ve always had a “problem” with milk. It always hurt my stomach if I had too much, plus I didn’t really like milk or cheese that much so I never really had a cup of milk, or yogurt. Whenever it was someone’s birthday or a special occasion, I always had to have the tiniest slice of cake, especially if it was chocolate, and not a lot of ice cream because it would hurt my stomach so much. I was young and never really thought anything of it, all I knew was that “when I have milk, my stomach hurt”.

It’s Getting Worse…

That’s the way it was for years, until things changed a few months before I turned 13. When I had milk products it started to become more than just a stomach ache, my stomach would hurt a lot worse, my throat would hurt, and then either my lip would be very painful and itchy or it would be numb or a bump would form on it, like swelling.  

No Dairy AllowedIt started off with hurting only if I had a normal/big amount and if it was main dairy products like milk, cheese, chocolate, etc. But then over the months it just got worse and worse until it was where I would have a hard candy that happened to have some milk and it would severely hurt my throat, or when I had one lick of ice cream and I had all of the symptoms and I felt horrible.

After that, we decided that I shouldn’t have any dairy until the allergy test because we weren’t sure how bad the symptoms would continue to get. That is when I realized how much stuff actually has dairy. It’s not just the obvious milk, cheese, yogurt, stuff you would think of. It’s in some breads, bagels, wraps, and other grains, all processed meat (from what I’ve seen) like hot dogs, hamburgers, pepperoni, a lot of candy, snacks, soups, crackers, cereals, cans, and much more. There is even a dairy chemical in some of my eyeshadow pallets.  

When I finally did get tested, they said it is a mild milk allergy, as in I won’t necessarily die the second I consume it, but it is possible I could go into anaphylactic shock which can be very dangerous and even deadly. Even if I touch dairy, I could have some type of reaction, that’s why I can’t wear the make-up because it makes my eyes all itchy and a little swollen.

Dairy is in Everything!

Diary Free Products Used by my DaughterAlmost all of my favourite foods have dairy in it, and some of them I didn’t even realize they did, but they do. I’ve had to make some big adjustments.

I can’t have most fast food because they could be contaminated with dairy. We have to make sure my non-dairy substitute for dinner is nowhere near, and doesn’t use the same utensils as everyone else’s food.

I have to make sure to very thoroughly wash pots and counters before I put my food on it. I have to get non-dairy milk, cheese, margarine, and then sometimes yogurt, and ice-cream, and they’re a lot more expensive and harder to find for a tiny amount. And it all tastes different. 

Staying Positive

Alastrin Enjoying Outside Despite AllergiesEven with living with all of these allergies, among other health conditions, I still like to stay positive and consider myself as one of the lucky ones. I’m not constantly in the hospital, I’m not allergic to the sun or water or something like that, and I still live a happy life, just with some adjustments and extra precautions. This is what it’s been like to live with my allergies so far. 

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