MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Allergy Fix – Airing February 27th, 2014 7pm

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If you ask yourself the same questions I do about why we hear about food allergies more these days, how might we be able to treat them and advances in science to date, I highly recommend you watch “The Allergy Fix”, a documentary by Dream Film airing on CBC’s The Nature of Things.

I will be tuning in on Thursday February 27, 2014 at 7pm (7:30 NL). Will you?

Here are a few links that might be of interest to you as well as the promo flyer:

Dream Film – The Allergy Fix

DEBUT: The Allergy Fix – David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things

VIDEO TRAILER for The Allergy Fix

TheAllergyFix

A safe and relaxing Valentine’s Day weekend away from home

 

Ocean Trails sign

On Friday afternoon, my partner and I headed up island for a weekend away. A wonderful birthday gift from family. We stayed at Ocean Trails Resort. The place we stayed in had a full kitchen which was great. We packed up a cooler full of food from home and grabbed safe utensils (as I do not feel particularly safe using plastic utensils that have been used to cook things I would likely be allergic to). It is always great to bring our own food as I feel extremely safe and don’t have any worries about the weekend. I can fully relax knowing that all the food we brought is safe and there is no chance of a reaction, especially considering the fact that everything we made had no processed foods in it, just vegetables, meat and rice. Safe as can be!

Before we booked the suite for the weekend, I called and made sure to ask whether the suites were pet-free and non smoking. They had assured me of both. When we went to the front desk to check in on Friday evening, I was extremely excited to see they had a sign which clearly stated their allergy policy:

allegy signSeeing this sign was a huge relief and sparked a conversation with the receptionist who explained that they understand how sensitive people can be with pets and smoke and know that pet dander can stay on furniture and in the carpet for a long time.

It was the first weekend away from home EVER I have not had to take any benadryl or other antihistamines! The place was spotless, buildings were newer and there were lots of windows we could open for some fresh air. No itchy eyes, scratchy throat or asthma attacks. It was truly wonderful.

If you are looking for a pet-free place to stay on the island, with a well equipped kitchen and fireplace, I highly recommend visiting them for a weekend, or perhaps even longer! We will definitely be going back there. :)

Thank you Ocean Trails Resort for a weekend we will remember! Conveniently located right next to Rathtrevor Beach, which we went to today, though it was very wet and windy.

When injury, asthma and allergy collide! Part 1 of 2

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You may be asking yourself how injuries, asthma and allergies relate…or perhaps you have already had a few experiences of your own, where these three factors have been at play…

I’ll start by saying that I’m a young adult who LOVES to be active and living with pain from an accident I was in 3 yrs ago has been challenging enough. Now if you’ve ever been injured, you know how tricky it can be both mentally and physically. It can be especially tricky mentally, when you are used to being active, and all of a sudden are either home with your ankle, leg etc. in a cast, or dealing with another injury, which limits and often entirely prevents you from doing almost all sports and activities, even walking.

Now, there’s good news for most of us… And that good news is that more commonly than not the injury is a sprain, break or other injury that will take a few months, or perhaps a year to heal and then we can start getting active again. Slowly at first of course. Alternatively, the injury is such that the pain you are dealing with is like a roller coaster, where some days are better than others. You are up and down, and often somewhere in between your high and low.

Soo… being lucky enough to have an activity that I CAN do, to stay active and strengthen means that nothing can get in my way from doing the activity. For me, it is swimming. Now, I swam back in high school, and always seemed to get sick and struggled with asthma, due to the chlorine in the pool. As  result, I was only on swim team for a season, and then I opted for another intramural.

Swimming on a regular basis, means that I need to be extra cautious about managing my asthma and allergies. Taking my controller medication morning and night for the asthma is a HUGE priority for me and I never miss a dose. Aside from ensuring my asthma is well controlled so the chlorine does not trigger me, I am getting lots of rest, to ensure my body is in top shape in case I get a cold. The last thing I need is to get really sick and not be able to swim, because my allergies and asthma have flared up! I also make sure my skin is well taken care of, so it doesn’t not break out into a rash or hives due to the chlorine.

It is thus extremely important to stay on top of your asthma and allergies, ESPECIALLY if swimming is your rehab therapy for an injury, because if you get triggered, well, your rehab therapy might be on the line.

There you have it.

Injuries + Allergies = The need to be extremely proactive.

Have you ever struggled with injury all the while trying to manage your asthma and allergies which were being directly affected?

What strategies did you come up with?

 

“Defining allergy fact from fiction”

I’ve been busy lately, and am trying to organize my routine, so I can still have time to post and share interesting articles and research I come across with you, my readers.

Nowadays, there is so much information on the internet that it can often feel like you need to sift through fact and fiction or myth and reality. I always say to go with what you hear straight from a board-certified allergist and/or physician. Who knows what the real source is on the internet. I know if I have questions, whether it be about contact skin reactions, food reactions, potential allergic reactions to medications, I go to my allergist, and if he’s not available, then I’ll run it by my physician. And then, once they’ve diagnosed, or explained it to me, yes, I may do an internet search to see if others are living with the same challenges, because it’s nice to not feel alone.

I hope the following article will help you see some fact on a few topics you or perhaps someone you know believed, and in the end is fiction.

Defining allergy fact from fiction” – Press Release from American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

What was the biggest “Ah ha!” of this article, that you perhaps wish your friends or family read, so they would see that it is “just a myth”.

For me it is hands down #5; “I’m Allergic to Cats and Dogs, but Can Have a Hypoallergenic Breed”. So many people say “oh, it’s a poodle, you won’t be allergic”… actually, yes, I am.

A busy summer is winding down…

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Yeepers! For the last few weeks I’ve been telling myself it’s time for a new post, however it’s been very hectic over the summer. This morning I was surprised to see that my last post was July 3rd! I guess it has been quite some time…

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer! Our summer in Victoria British Columbia has been quite a nice one! We had a whole lot of sun which was wonderful. As a kayak coach, I was lucky enough to spend a good part of the summer on the water in a coach boat. A real treat. What was your summer like? Any family vacations or camping trips? This summer I’ve been dealing with injuries and it’s meant that I wasn’t as active as I would have liked to be, however I’m hoping next summer can make up for this one, with hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and camping trips.

One of the major highlights of my summer was a visit from a family in Calgary who has a child with severe food allergies, which, I met through this very blog! They had read my blog early in may and had reached out to me asking if I had any tips on things to do in Vancouver or Victoria, restaurants that were allergy conscious and safe and places to stay. We corresponded for 2 months and the family decoded they were Victoria bound! I was extremely excited to meet one of my readers and supporters from Calgary!

Combining two busy schedules was tricky, however we managed to spend their last afternoon in town together out on the water! We took the kids out for some kayaking and canoeing. It was so inspirational for me to meet a reader who so strongly believed in what I write and who I aspire to be. To meet her family was wonderful. It was almost magical. We had only corresponded by email, yet it felt like I already knew them . They were my friends. It was an experience like no other. I look forward to the next time we will meet! Perhaps I’ll visit Calgary next. :)

Though this summer has been a busy one, it has been a great one. I have spent much more time focusing on me and trying to overcome injuries and other health challenges. My asthma symptoms have also been significantly better over the last 2 months which is extremely exciting! Throughout this busy time, the two things I never skipped were my immunotherapy treatments. Both sublingual and subcutaneous, as they have continued to make a HUGE difference in my allergies and asthma and I know that skipping them will make my allergies and asthma worse. Immunotherapy is one of my biggest health priorities! What is your biggest health priority?

 

 

 

How has your dad supported you?

Erika and Dad

Today I’d like to dedicate my post to my father. An amazing man who has been there every step of the way. He’s always stood by me, whether it be in -30 degrees or + 30 degrees! My dad has been my rock. Living with food allergies and asthma, there are ups and there are downs. As a teenager, my dream was to make it to the Olympics one day and to race internationally, in cross-country skiing! My family and friends were always extremely supportive and I am extremely fortunate.

Winters were always EXTREMELY busy, with races pretty much every weekend when I was at the more competitive levels. My dad and I were constantly away. We were a two man team a lot of the time, he would wax my skis and I would race my heart out. When I was in competitive sport, I never felt sad about my food allergies, or frustrated about my asthma. My dad would remind me to take my inhalers 30 minutes prior to my race and within a few minutes of my start as prescribed by my doctor. And he would have safe snacks for me after my race when I was needing energy! Together we made a terrific team! My dad would give me pep talks before each race and help me ease my nerves leading up to larger races. I loved hearing about how in the wax hut he had heard of a new trick to make my skis even faster, and other tips he’d gotten from other coaches or parents.

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He was always on the sidelines cheering me on and he was always there to cover me in a blanket or bring me my coat after the race.

My dad has always known how to enjoy the moment. We’ve had some fairly competitive races around the tracks and I will never forget those! Our family seems to get really competitive in Go Karts! I love it! :)

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In the summer it was cross-training in sprint kayak and training camps. He was always driving me around, just like the cross-country skiing races. I am fortunate to have a dad who goes out of his way to make things work, to find a solution and to keep us all smiling. So thank you dad. Thank you for being there for me every step of the way.

What are some of the greatest things your dad has done for you? Or perhaps moments you will always remember…

 

Another TERRIFIC Social Support Opportunity for Children and Youth across Canada with Asthma!

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The University of Alberta Social Support Research Program is looking for Aboriginal Children and Youth to participate in an 8 week online social support program led by Aboriginal Peer Mentors from across Canada!

They are currently recruiting:

  • Aboriginal Children (7-11 yrs)Aboriginal Youth (12-16 yrs)
  • Aboriginal Peer Mentors
  • Health Professionals

Benefits to children and youth include:

  • Practical/Informational, Emotional & Affirmational Support
  • Decreased feeling of isolation
  • New friends
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased coping skills

They have recruiting flyers and other great resources on the Downloads page of their website! Two Videos await you !!!

Be sure to visit the Asthma-riginal website for more information :)