Before I met my husband (many moons ago), I’d never been exposed to allergies. 25+ years ago, growing up in my little old town of Hokitika, on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, allergies and food intolerances were so uncommon that for me they were non-existent. This all changed when I met hubby and was introduced to his dust, animal dander and pollen allergies. I’d gone from blissful ignorance to full blown allergy submersion. Of course, Hubby had lived with his allergies for as long as he could remember so the learning curve was all mine, thankfully he was well versed in how to prevent a flare up, I just had to take his lead. For more on his allergies, check out my previous post “The Impacts of Our Family’s Allergies”.
Things have changed dramatically in the last 15 years or so. In fact, recently the World Allergy Organisation announced that allergies should be considered a global public health problem and that steps need to be taken to promote awareness about them. Allergies like eczema were estimated to affect 334 million globally in 2013, with an alarmingly increasing number of children being subjected to this form of allergy.
In this post I want to a bit of information about the eczema and food, latex and pollen allergies, along with their symptoms and various treatment. The information outlined below should not be considered medical advice and I urge you to seek professional medical treatment should experience any of the symptoms below.
Allergies impact families in different ways. For us, Ella’s diagnosis was really only the first sign she’d shown of having a food allergy so we were lucky to not have to experience a variety of reactions prior to her diagnosis.
My husband’s allergy towards dust, animal dander and pollen were harder to adapt to initially but over time we’ve got that down pat. We went through a lot of trial and error with medications for hay fever and cleaning products before we found a happy medium. One of our most successful discoveries was finding Geelong’s Cleanest Carpets, an eco-friendly carpet cleaning company here in Geelong. As carpet and rugs can hide obscene amounts of, not only dirt and dust, but the faecal matter of dust mites (to which my husband is extremely allergic) it’s important for us to get our carpets cleaned regularly in our household. Although the general consensus is to get your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months, we get ours done every 6 months. We can’t afford to have a build-up of dust and dirt in our carpets due to my husband’s adverse reaction.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a bit about our family’s direct struggles with allergies which all started when our daughter Ella was 18 months old, early in 2016. Ella had developed a rash one morning, all over her back, stomach and limbs. Pretty much the only part of her that wasn’t covered in a rash was her face. Alarmed at this I took Ella straight to the emergency department of the Geelong hospital and she was seen to very quickly.
Although she wasn’t in any pain or discomfort the Doctor mentioned that he thought the rash could be an allergy to something Ella had eaten or touched. Immediately I thought of the peanut butter toast I’d fed her for breakfast but she’d had this many times before so surely that wasn’t the issue? The doctor mentioned that it could in fact be an allergy to peanut butter but we wouldn’t know for sure until Ella had food allergy tests done. Ella was given an antihistamine and booked in for food allergy testing later on that afternoon.
By the time the food allergy testing rolled around later that afternoon, Ella’s rash had cleared up completely and she was none the wiser to what she was about to experience. The testing involved a mix of skin tests and blood tests to which, very surprisingly Ella had mild reactions to peanuts, almonds, eggs, shellfish, strawberries and kiwifruit.
This was a huge surprise to us as Ella had never reacted before to any nuts or eggs (she’d never been exposed to shellfish as we don’t eat a lot of that kind of seafood). The doctor explained the food allergies can start at any age although are more commonly diagnosed on first exposure to a food, not set on in later life. As Ella’s immune system was young, the Doctor said there was a chance she would grow out of it by her teens but there was no guarantee.
I wanted to give you all some information on anaphylaxis as this is the most fatal of all allergic reactions. Bear with me, it’s a long post but it’s full of all of the information you need to know about Anaphylaxis!
Thankfully we haven’t experienced anaphylaxis in our household but we are prepared for that event should it happen one day. It’s a scary thought but the more you know the more you can prevent it from occurring so have a read below…
Cathy’s “What You Need To Know” about peanut allergies:
Peanut allergies are very common around the world and have increased dramatically over the last few decades. Here in Australia, peanut allergies affect approximately 3% of children and, although this allergy can occur at any stage, it mainly appears in the early years of life. While around 20% of children grow out of their peanut allergy when they reach adulthood, 20% of sufferers may experience worsen reactions with time. A shocking report in 2012 also revealed that nearly 75 people in the United States die from this allergy each year. Deaths from peanut allergies are rare in Australia but do occur.
Let start with something simple Cathy… For those unaware or unaffected by allergies, a) LUCKY YOU and B) this blog post is for you. I’ve got the low down on the different types of allergies and touch on a few of the major allergies that affect so many.
For some, it happens almost abruptly. For others, it is subtle, gradually making itself known after some time. You feel your skin start to itch and swell up and discover a rash developing on the surface. Or maybe you begin to find it hard to breathe a few minutes later after finishing a dessert at a restaurant that you didn’t know included nuts. Yes, allergies are a common hindrance for many people throughout the world. Many reactions range from mild to life-threatening, and it’s all the more upsetting and nerve-wracking if you have a child that possibly suffers from them. It is important to know the different types of allergies so that you can learn how to spot symptoms and treat them accordingly. Let’s consider the four main types of allergies – skin contact, injection, ingestion and inhalation.
Hello and welcome to my blog. I’m Cathy and I can’t wait to get stuck in and update my blog regularly with the details of my family’s journey to a happier, healthier home. You can find out why we’re on this journey by going over to my About Cathy page.
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