Last week, I had my first appointment with an allergist! I was so relieved to find out what, exactly, I’m allergic to and why I’ve been having severe sudden allergic reactions.
As a child, I don’t recall having allergies much, if at all. I grew up in the desert around cats and dogs all my life. When I first moved to Montana, I remember having severe allergies the first few years and took medication when I needed it. Then I noticed I was really sensitive to cats and then bananas and then avocados. It was easy enough to just avoid them. Finally, this year I have had three severe allergic reactions after eating fruits and vegetables. Two of these episodes required visits to the Emergency Department because of facial swelling and full body hives. Allergic symptoms also included itching, stomach cramping and violent vomiting.
After seeing the ED doctor the first time, he recommended that I take an allergy pill every day until I can get in to see an allergist and he set up the referral for me. I felt wonderful taking the allergy pill every day but, of course, I wanted to find out what I was allergic to. The allergist appointment was scheduled and I was instructed to stop taking all allergy medication one week before the appointment. Day three is when I ate a peach and had to revisit the Emergency Department.
I made it to the big day and I was excited to meet the specialist and have some allergy testing. Right off the bat, the doctor told me it is a very common condition, when one has severe pollen and grass allergies, that allergic cross-reactions occur when certain raw fruits and vegetables are ingested. Their proteins look very similar to those of the allergen and the body reacts accordingly. That is what he suspected was occurring but he tested me for forty allergens.
The nurse applied the allergens by pricking my skin with a fork-like applicator about two inches apart on my back. They waited for fifteen minutes and then read the results by measuring the size of the welt, or raised area, and the width of the flare, or redness surrounding the welt. These were my results! The highlighted allergens were read as positive.
As you can see, my top allergens are all environmental. Grass mix, Russian thistle, western white oak, Pine Mix and several others were all extremely high positives. My next highest allergen was dogs which was a real shocker for me. I have noticed symptoms around other peoples dogs but we have had a dog for eight years now. I am not allergic to cats nor am I allergic to bananas or peaches. I am allergic to most nuts. I had no idea!!! I literally eat nuts all the time.
I am absolutely ecstatic to have this information. The doctor has said I don’t have to get rid of my dogs, just keep them out of the bedroom, and I was prescribed a regimen of medications to get control of my environmental allergies, so that I don’t continue to have cross reactions. I highly recommend seeing an allergy specialist if you have ever struggled with allergies. My appointment was very informative and I finally know what I truly should avoid and how to control my symptoms with medication.
I’d love to hear your experiences with allergies. Have you had allergy testing? Would you like to know how my follow-up appointment goes?