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Monday, December 24, 2012

Over the river and thru the woods...

(Shutterstock image) Grandmother's house we go. It's supposed to be a fun time at grandma's, but I'm starting to think my in-laws have other motives. Are they trying to kill me off?!

It's scary traveling with food allergies, and grandma's house has everything we are allergic to. Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, and what does she have? Almond milk and almond butter.  Same thing happened last time we were there, we had to go buy a gallon of milk and remind her that Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, and that means he can't drink almond milk. He needs regular old cow's milk.

Then Hubby decided to make Clam Chowder for Christmas Eve dinner. I am allergic seafood, so I bought a can of chicken noodle soup at the store so I could have something to eat. I left the kitchen when he started cooking, and was watching TV in the area next to the kitchen. Suddenly, I felt a flushed feeling race through my body and my heart started pounding. My first thought was the seafood. Uh oh! I ran from the room into another part of the house, closed the door and opened the window. I started breathing in deeply to fill my body with fresh air. I grabbed my Epi pen just in case I needed to use it. Maybe I didn't breathe in enough of the cooking fumes, because it didn't get any worse.

Strange reaction? I was at a conference this spring when an allergy specialist was talking about seafood allergies. He said in rare cases, you can have anaphylaxis just from breathing in cooking vapors of seafood. I found an article about seafood allergies from American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Seafood has a protein that becomes airborne while you are cooking. If you are allergic to seafood, simply breathing in the same room while someone is cooking seafood can cause anaphylaxis! 

Did you also know that a seafood allergy can appear later in life? I remember eating seafood as a kid. I didn't like it, but I ate it. I developed an allergy to it about 20 years ago. My brother still thinks it's all in my head because I ate seafood as a kid. It's frustrating and dangerous when people don't believe you have a food allergy, or don't understand how scary it is to have a food allergy. Once you develop an allergy to seafood, it's usually there for the rest of your life.

So, we survived the weekend. For those of you who don't have food allergies, please take it seriously when someone is visiting your home and they say they have food allergies. It can be be the difference between life and death for that person. Asthma and Asthma Network, Mothers of Asthmatics has a great article about anaphylaxis. 

You should read it, it might help you save a life someday.

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