When it comes to food allergies, to many people are still in the dark.
This life-threatening condition should get more public attention as it could mean sparing a life.
Every 3 minutes someone is sent to the ER as a result of a life-threatening reaction to food according to www.foodallergy.org.
It is more than just a dislike for a food, as a matter of fact, I positively adore nearly every food I am allergic to, but I don't dare eat even the smallest crumb or risk my throat closing up. What exactly are the symptoms of a food allergy? I have written many blog posts and social media posts on this topic before, but I think it bears repeating. In fact I want to flood the internet with articles on how to recognize the symptoms of a food allergy in hopes of saving a life.
The symptoms of a food allergy varies from person to person, but here are the main signs:
Mild to moderate symptoms... (can be one or many of the list below)
Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
Eczema flare (a persistent dry, itchy rash)
Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes
Itchy mouth or ear canal
Nausea or vomiting
Nasal congestion or a runny nose
Slight, dry cough
Severe symptoms may include one or more of the following...
Swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat that blocks breathing
Shortness of breath or wheezing
Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)
Loss of consciousness
A weak or “thready” pulse
Sense of “impending doom”
Severe symptoms, alone or combined with milder symptoms, may be signs of life-threatening anaphylaxis. This requires immediate treatment.
For some of us, the main symptom is difficulty breathing and feeling faint. Others may be more subtil and persist as IBS, or other digestive disorders. The most important thing is to respond quickly to any sign of a severe reaction!
Here is an example of how one of my reactions can manifest: (This one I am about to describe has actually happened.)
I accidentally consume a "safe" food that was cooked in a pan that was previously used for eggs and not washed properly. My lips start to tingle. My head feels a little dizzy. My asthma kicks in and I feel like it is hard to breathe in. My tongue gets itchy and my throat starts to close up. My blood pressure drops, and I feel disoriented. I can recognize that I am having a reaction, but I may not be capable of thinking through my plan of action, and thus may have to rely on someone else to administer the meds to stop the reaction. All this can progress fast within a few minutes, but for some of my other food allergies, it may take up to 30 minutes for symptoms to peak. This is called anaphylaxis and is a medical emergency treated with epinephrine. (Because of my other health issues including allergies to nearly all prescription and over the counter drugs, I use a natural antihistamine called Quercetin on first sign of an allergic reaction and at times it is sufficient to stop the reaction. This should only be done upon consent of an allergy doctor, as in most cases it is not strong enough to stop the reaction in a normal person. Epinephrine is the safest option for most people.)
Do you know anyone who is dealing with the symptoms of food allergies? Share this post with them and help spread the information. It may save a life, and that life may be of one of your loved ones. Together we will win this war against food allergies by being an advocate for those who suffer on a daily basis with this health problem.
Here's to life!
Have a Happy Healthy, Allergy Friendly Day!
~Gluten Free Em~
Friday, June 21, 2019
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
OK, it's that time of year...pumpkins, candy, apple cider...we all love the awesomeness of fall! But what most people don't understand is the torture that goes on inside the mind of someone with dietary restrictions! All these beautiful smells, and delicious looking food and drinks, that we are unable to have!!!! There are several solutions to this problem, including learning how to substitute flours, but for a moment, I just want to stand up for those of us with this problem by explaining to the world what we actually deal with on a daily basis!
You are walking through the grocery store, you smell the beautiful smell of cinnamon...Your mind automatically gets anxious because you know you are anaphylactically allergic to cinnamon...so you speed up your steps to get away from the smell you love that hates you. You are walking past the bakery to get to the meat and cheese section, when you get a whiff of fresh made cake, donuts, bread...You know there is probably a trace of gluten still airborne from the mixing and baking process that goes on in that open area... You remember all the times that you were sick for weeks from that trace amount of gluten you breathed in while hanging out near the bakery for a few minutes, just trying to get your shopping done... Your heart sinks because you are hungry, wishing you could have those delicious foods again.
You get to the cheese isle... your eyes quickly roam to find the cheese you are buying for your family, not yourself. You absolutely adore cheese, and really could use the protein and calcium found in it, but you know that if you eat it you will be sick for days... You just grab what your family needs and leave, trying not to spend too much time in that area.
You pass the meat counter...You see steaks, hamburger, pork chops, ham, fish...Your heart screams at you, as your mind constantly repeats (allergic, allergic, allergic!) Without hesitation, you pass on by.
The frozen vegetable isle is loaded with delicious choices. You take your time checking to see if there are any new ones, but all you can see that is safe is broccoli, kale...and that's it. You wonder if it will always be this way. You remember the days when you could have fresh corn on the cob, okra, or even green beans or peas...You long for the freedom you had then.
The canned food isle is a quick grab and passing for the only thing down there you can have is absolutely nothing...but the family can have pinto's so you grab a few cans and go.
You go through the rest of the isles picking up a few things here and there, mourning over all the delicious options that aren't options. You remember the days when you could have them. The cravings for healthy, filling, nutritious meals are severe about now. You are just about in tears, but you must look and act strong in front of your family...so you push on. The fake smile you wear hides the inner pain and frustration that is bottled up until that moment when you are alone to release it.
Finally, the last thing on your list, you grab some yogurt for the family. You know that without the yogurt your gluten free baking just won't be what it needs to be. You also know that you won't be able to have not even one bite of the goodies that you will be mixing up for your family. At the peak of frustration, you quickly check out and pay the hundreds of dollars for the few groceries you actually have been able to grab. You are relieved when you finally get into the car to head home, only to do the same thing again next week.
You are so hungry by this time that you wish so badly that there was some kind of fast food or snack at a gas station that you could have, but instead you just have to deal with it till you get home. You know that there isn't anything safe.
So many people don't understand the emotional battle that those of us with multiple food allergies deal with. Most people say, "Oh, you are being overly careful." But what they don't know is all the hundreds of times when your body went into anaphylactic shock because you weren't careful enough. They haven't seen you doubled over in pain, and vomiting for hours because you ate gluten. They weren't there when you failed your exam because gluten made your mind so foggy you couldn't think straight in-spite of the weeks of study. And they haven't dealt with the extreme fatigue that brought you to depression...all because of Food Allergies and Gluten Sensitivity!
The BATTLE is REAL, Folks! You can't make these things up...and so many people suffer on a daily basis like this! We have to spread awareness! We must stand up for those who have Food Allergies, Celiac Disease, or Gluten Sensitivity! We must do our best to help others who are suffering to have their voice heard!
Do your part, whatever it may be, to get the word out!
Have a Happy, Healthy, Allergen Free, Gluten Free Day!
~Gluten Free Em~
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
As you may have already noticed, many of my posts are to educate and spread the word to the world that Celiac Disease is real! Many people in this world suffer from Celiac Disease and simply don't know the reason for their baffling symptoms... The reason is, lack of knowledge among medical professionals, and people just accepting their symptoms instead of seeking help. Take time to educate yourself and others on the symptoms of Celiac Disease, and Gluten Sensitivity!!! It could be life changing...and dare I say, Life Saving!
Some symptoms listed by the Mayo Clinic....
- Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
- Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Damage to dental enamel
- Mouth ulcers
- Headaches and fatigue
- Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance, and cognitive impairment
- Joint pain
- Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Weight loss
- Short stature
- Delayed puberty
- Neurological symptoms, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination and seizures