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.

Let’s ring in the New Year!

Erika Profile - China Beach

Thank you for all your support and encouragement in 2014! It has been one busy year and I would not be where I am right now without you. Thank you to my family, friends and fellow readers. :)

I have some great plans for 2015 as my #1 goal to raise awareness still stands. I am planning some giveaways and other surprises for 2015 and my question to you is…

What would you like for 2015. What questions do you have? Who would you like to write a guest blog post? If you would like to share a story or tips in 2015 or know someone who may want to, please send me an email at erika.ladouceur@livingwithallergies.ca or submit a contact form on my website. I would love to have various guest posts to share different angles of perhaps similar stories.

Wishing you a safe New Years’ celebration tonight with your family and friends. Let’s make 2015 a year to remember! Wishing you all great health and happiness in 2015.

– Erika

Safe Holidays?

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How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Erika

 

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

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Remember to be safe and not take any risks with food that you are allergic to. You do not want to end up in the ER on Christmas Eve. I’ve been there, done that and do not wish that upon anyone. We spent December 24th driving to the hospital and all evening in the ER for observation. Please be cautious when eating away from home. There is no such thing as being “too careful”. Ask lots of questions, bring food you know you can eat and let others around you know about your allergies and that you carry and epinepherine auto-injector so that someone can help you if you have a severe reaction. Plan ahead.

As for environmental triggers, speak up and let others know when you are having a reaction or your asthma is flaring up due to pets, smoke, incense or candles.

 

Happy holidays!

Erika

Scent-sitive – Tips to making those of us with Asthma feel safer during the Holidays

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Scented candles are one of many triggers that can cause a healthy person like me to have an Asthma attack. Many people do not understand that the chemicals, fragrances and scents that go into these candles to make them smell like cranberry and orange, pumpkin and spice, or vanilla (only a few mentioned) can trigger wheezing and serious troubles breathing for people like me. People who are Asthmatic.

I have always found it hard to explain to people that the scented candles are triggering my Asthma and are the culprit. Many do not believe a candle could do such a thing. But it does. Incense is just the same, and often worse, as it will give off more smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I love scented candles; my lungs don’t.

During the holidays if you are hosting and you know that one of your guests has environmental Allergies and/or Asthma please ask them if scented candles and incense are one of their triggers. There is a very good chance they are. Holidays can be one of the most stressful times for many of us who live with Asthma, environmental Allergies and food Allergies. If someone has told you that candles and incense trigger them, please respect that.

In the simplest of terms, think of scented candles and incense as you would perfumes and colognes. If friends and family have expressed that perfumes set off their Asthma, then candles and incense will likely have the same effect.

Hosting for friends and family with food allergies – Before the event

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Please share with those that do not have allergies and may be hosting this    holiday season.

Christmas Eve is just 10 days away and many of you may already be on holidays already or very soon. Christmas and New Years is a very busy time of year for parties with friends and family. Holiday parties usually involve some kind of food, whether there is a meal, or h’ourdeuvres. If you are hosting a dinner with family and friends this holiday season, here are a 4 tips for you to ensure your loved ones can have a fun time while feeling safe.

Before I get into the tips, one very important note; COMMUNICATION is KEY! So please do not be afraid to ask questions or share if you feel uncomfortable preparing food for the person with the food allergy/allergies.

  1. Ask if anyone coming to the party has any food allergies. You may not be able to cater the food that is to be served to completely avoid their food allergens, especially if they list is a long one, however it is nice to feel like we are being considered in the planning. The smallest of gestures; like not placing bowls of bulk nuts out because we have a life-threatening food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts means so much to us.
  2. Ask the severity of the allergy. If you are aware of the allergy, and severity, you can discuss the next steps with them. You do not want to find out when you are serving dinner that someone has a life-threatening allergy and
  3. Ask if they plan to bring their own food and let them know that if they prefer to bring their own food that is perfectly OK. I know I often feel uncomfortable bringing my own food to dinner parties, however I always feel better when I know that the hosts or other guests know about my allergies and thus understand why I have my own food.
  4. If they do not plan on bringing their own food, it is up to you, as the host, to discuss with them if you are worried about what you plan to serve or how to make it safe. Perhaps they would like to help in the preparation of the food or can bring a dish that would be safe for them and that others would also like to eat. Maybe they can give you tips about what they can eat which will help put you at ease.

On Wednesday, I will be sharing tips on what to do once you get the list of food allergies or perhaps sensitivities like wheat and gluten. I’ll discuss ways to make your kitchen safe before preparing the food and how to minimize the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen.

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?