A Valentine’s Day you will Remember – For all the Right Reasons!

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, wherever you go, you are likely to see boxes of chocolates in heart shapes, pink and red decorations and flower bouquets on sale for the special day. To be quite honest, I prefer a nice home cooked meal in the safety of our own home. No stress. And for flowers, my boyfriend is always careful as some smell very strong and can trigger my asthma. We like to keep Valentine’s Day simple. On Valentine’s Day, I like to stay in.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Click one of the following links below to see a few tips to prepare you for a wonderful Valentine’s Day, if:

You are the one with Food Allergies

Your date has Food Allergies

** Remember, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about food. You can go on a romantic date without any food! Like a nice skate, or ski or walk in the park. Perhaps even a hike, or if you live in Victoria, BC where there is not snow… A nice paddle. :)

Be safe and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

I know I will! :)

Valentine’s Day if your date has Food Allergies

If your date has Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Your date may want to call the restaurant ahead of time to find out if they can accommodate their Food Allergies; some restaurants will not.
  2. Even if you wanted to keep the name of the restaurant a surprise, if your date asks, know that they will feel safer and more relaxed knowing that it is a restaurant where the staff is prepared to accommodate their Food Allergies.
  3. Lastly, order a meal that would also be safe for your date to eat. Your date will feel wonderful knowing that you want to eat something that is safe for them, and will make the evening more relaxed. Who knows, might even mean you get a nice kiss for being so thoughtful :)

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date asks to help you in preparing dinner allow them to help, even if you wanted to make dinner for them. Or, show them all the ingredients you plan to use and have your date help you ensure the kitchen is clean and they feel safe with the utensils, pans and dishes you plan to use. Personally, I feel safer using metal cooking utensils over plastic in a kitchen where my allergens may be present.
  3. If your date would like to clean utensils, pans, cutting boards and dishes before making dinner, go with it. Help them feel safe and relaxed. It’ll make the evening even more romantic and enjoyable if they feel supported and understood.
  4. Avoid eating things your date is allergic to for the one night. You can have them tomorrow. Keep this evening relaxed, fun and safe.
  5. If your date asks to have the evening free of all foods they are allergic to, don’t question it. You will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day evening without worry.

Wanting to give chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, skip the chocolates. Make homemade chocolates or buy some roses, write a nice card or be creative. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about chocolates and candies.
  3. Tell your date that you tried to find chocolates however you were not sure if any of the ones you had found would have been safe. Your date will appreciate knowing that you wanted to find chocolates or candy or other however at the end of the day, you chose a safer option.

When in doubt, just speak up! :)

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Valentine’s Day if you are the one with Food Allergies

If you are the one with Food Allergies, I have a few tips for you below.

Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner?

  1. Call the restaurant you are going to ahead of time.
  2. Prepare a cue card listing all your allergies and level of severity before you go
  3. Talk to the waiter/waitress when they first come to your table and ask for drinks; that way, they may notify their manager about the allergies before you even order.

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Be sure that the ingredients used for your dinner are safe and there is no cross-contamination
  2. If your date wants to make you dinner and you feel a little uncertain about cross-contamination in their kitchen, tell them that you trust them, however you would feel more relaxed if you could help prepare and cook – They will understand
  3. If you are concerned your date may eat something you are allergic to and then kiss you, speak up. Please do not sit all evening feeling stressed or anxious about what may or may not happen.
  4. Ask to have a completely safe evening, with only foods you can have, so you can kiss and not worry about what they may or may not have had

Receiving chocolates or another edible treat? 

  1. Double and triple check the labels – Look for a may contain statement which may not be close to the ingredient list.
  2. If you feel uncertain, let your date know that you appreciate the gift, however you’d feel more comfortable after calling the company to confirm that it was made in a safe facility without cross-contamination.
  3. Ask that your date not eat them either, in case they are not safe for you; tell your date that you would feel more relaxed knowing they had not eaten anything you may be allergic to.

When in doubt, just speak up! :)

Have a safe and romantic Valentine’s Day and please leave your thoughts and comments below!

A wet start to the week…

Today we woke up and opened the door to check the weather. Turns out today is a “heavy rain” day. One of many living here on the west coast of Canada.

On days like today I am always very aware of my breathing as after rain there is often mold. There are giant puddles everywhere! Days like today I think of how much fun we had as kids jumping in puddles and the water didn’t bother us in the least.

Allergy injection for me tonight. Then I am finally at my maintenance dose. After  3 months of trying to get to maintenance, I will be able to take the maximum dose, on a monthly basis, I am finally there!!!  Relief. Regular allergy injections definitely make my schedule busier as I have to wait at the walk-in clinic to get them. However, it is well worth the wait as the doctor administering the injections does her best to administer in a way that rarely triggers a reaction. I am fortunate to have found a really good doctor at the walk-in.

Immunotherapy injections at a walk-in clinic

I have been going to a local walk-in clinic here in Victoria for my dust mite immunotherapy injections as it is more convenient. I can go after dinner so it does not affect my workday. I was hesitant about going to a walk-in because all walk-ins I had ever been to, on more than 20 different occassions had given me the injection at a different place on my arm compared to where my GP and my Allergist gives me the injections.

Now if you do not get allergy injections, the difference in injection site can actually mean a larger reaction, which was always true for me at walk-in clinics. About a month ago I decided i would go to the walk-in. I lucked out! The doctor at the walk-in was very nice, understanding and talked to me about subcutaneous injections. She helped me better understand why some reactions to the injections might be worse than others. I now go for my immunotherapy injections when she is there. Have you found a good doctor at a walk-in?

Better get ready. Fall is just around the corner!

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If you suffer from pollen allergies, you might be on antihistamines right now as summer turns into early fall. When I lived in Montreal, I would get serious allergies every fall, from Ragweed. Spring and fall used to be brutal. I remember years when my father and I were completely out of commission! It was terrible. And on top of the itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing, I’d have my asthma flaring up. Talk about a gong show! People thought I was sick with a cold. Nope. Gotta love allergies and asthma in the fall!

Moving to Victoria, British Columbia, my seasonal allergies changed. It seems like I am not as severely allergic to the pollen out here. What a relief! Or so I thought. One thing about being out in beautiful BC is that the climate is very different. It is damp and humid and that means there is a lot more mold. So every fall, instead of dealing with pollen, I’m trying to keep my body as strong as possible, heading into the damp fall and winter because there is so much mold and it ALWAYS triggers my asthma.

Now the other battle students with asthma face is”back to school” I remember when I was younger, I would be off my asthma medications in the summer and then start up on them as fall approached in anticipation of school starting. With school starting there are so many colds going around and confined environments (classrooms that have been closed all summer) so there is a lot of dust; one of my major triggers. I recall numerous ER visits for my asthma. When I was younger, I had my own nebulizer at home and another at school and fall/winter I was very careful not to miss a treatment. Some days I’d be on the nebulizer three times a day! I am thankful that I haven’t needed regular treatment using a nebulizer in some time.

Do you get triggered in the fall?

Do your seasonal allergies flare-up?

Does your your Asthma flare-up?

The Camping Trilogy: Part 2 – Asthma and Environmental Allergies

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I’ve already shared a post about managing food allergies and this one is about managing your asthma and environmental allergies. A few of these things I hadn’t even thought about for this camping trip, which, I have learned my lessons for next time and will need to plan a little better. This was the first time camping in a long time and that is about to change as I now have the “camping bug”!!

A few things asthmatics need to consider when going camping:

Will you need to borrow camping equipment? 

If you don’t have a tent and air mattress and plan on borrowing camping equipment and have environmental allergies, be sure you find out if there have been any cats, or dogs in the tent. That result of using a tent that may have had a cat or dog inside could ruin your camping trip if your allergies are serious. This could also trigger your asthma which is definitely something you want to try and prevent when at all possible.

Where are you going camping? Is it inland or by the ocean?

We went camping near China Beach which is right by the ocean, and it was EXTREMELY humid so my asthma was worse than normal. We were in the fog cloud and it was the most humid climate I have been in. I was lucky though as I had my inhalers and was able to control my asthma fairly well. It is important to know where you are camping especially if the humidity will be higher than where you live now. Luckily, with camping, you don’t really need to worry about air pollution as camping means going away from the city into nature, away from it all.

What time of the year are you going camping?

This is a really important one! Especially if you have a serious allergy to say ragweed and plan a camping trip in peak ragweed season! Be aware of the peak seasons for your environmental allergies. Out here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, my asthma usually flares early fall, when the weather flips from beautiful hot summer, to wet, cold fall. I have a serious mold allergy and the mold spores are what make my asthma worse, so I need to plan appropriately.

Will you be hiking a lot?

When I think camping, I associate it with hiking, especially here on the beautiful West Coast! Physical activity in a more humid climate triggers my asthma. It may trigger yours too. If you don’t know whether your asthma may be triggered exercising in a more humid climate, ask your allergist or a doctor ahead of time. This is all part of the planning process.

The nice thing about all this is that once you’ve figured out what makes your asthma worse, you already have a plan to minimize the flare-ups and know how to control your asthma. Camping is sooo much fun and with a little planning you can have a wonderful weekend getaway like we did and not have any worries. That’s the best thing about planning. It’s a lot of work upfront but means that you can actually relax when you are there because you are ready!

I am looking forward to a whole lot more camping and hiking this fall! Will you be camping?