First Date

rose

I figured with Valentine’s day around the corner I would bring up the conversation of dating again… particularly first dates. i have been asked many a time from parents what dating looks like for me. Well, its been a little while since I’ve been in that scene though thought I’d chime in. 

When it comes to dating, it has always been a big concern for me because all of a sudden I am putting my life in someone else’s hands. My action has always been to discuss my allergies and the Epi at the very beginning of the relationship. Even before the first kiss. I’ve never had anyone reject me or turn me down because of my life threatening allergies and asthma. Believe me, if a guy or girl likes you they will ask questions and want to know how they can help keep you feeling safe. 

Where to go on a first date? Some place where food is not part of the game,  or a picnic where you offer to get the sandwiches. I’ve gone to coffee shops or for a walk on the breach or to a park, or done something active like gone for a bike ride. There are sooo many things you can do that do not involve food.

In leaving food out of the first date you can focus on getting to know each other and not worry about the food or stress about having to ask the waiter about your allergies in front of your date. 

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA)

How much have you read or heard about food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA)? Perhaps this is the first time you hear about this condition. This is one of the reasons I always keep my Epipen on me. One would not want to find themselves without it in a time of need.

With FDEIA; “the patient may go through life eating the food they are allergic to without any reaction, and it’s only when they exercise afterwards that the anaphylaxis strikes.”

I highly recommend having a read through the article below, to hear about a young mans’ reaction.

To read more, go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2197842/Going-jog-Dancing-Or-just-doing-gardening–How-taking-exercise-trigger-deadly-food-allergy.html#ixzz261SAazOm

Allergies and Language Barriers

Have you encountered a situation when you are unable to communicate your allergies and their severity due to an obvious language barrier? Perhaps you have traveled to a different country where they spoke primarily french, portugese, spanish or another language you may not be very familiar with. How have you dealt with these situations. Have you trusted them when they said that your food would be safe? Have you trusted the hotel staff who seemed convinced no animal had ever been in the room? Do you try and learn some phrases before your trip if you know that your language may not be spoken where you are going?

One trick my parents and I came up with a few years ago was to have someone translate a few key phrases and words for us and write them all on separate pieces of paper for us. When we went to the Dominican Republic years ago, we at least 3 different notes in spanish that we could give to the chef for assistance. One would say: “hello, my name is Erika and I have SEVERE, life-threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, …” another said “can you please help me find something safe to eat?” and the notes went on. I found it extremely helpful to have everything written down, because I didn’t have to worry about not saying something correctly, or mispronouncing it. I felt safe, knowing the chef had very specific messages. The chef on this particular trip was awesome. He did not speak a word of English, though he would nod or shake his head when pointing at items in the buffet, to express whether I could eat it or not.

I find it truly amazing how despite talking, gestures and written communication can be a very successful means of expressing thoughts.

Are there times you have found it impossible to communicate your allergies? Maybe when eating out, or renting a room at a hotel, when you are asking them about cleaning products they use and their pet regulations… How have you felt in those situations? What have you done? Do your friends or family try and assist?

My thought on this topic is to try and have a few phrases in the languages of the place you know you will be visiting. If you live in British Columbia or any other province or territory.. and will be visiting Quebec, don’t worry, there is English and French, though it does not hurt to go prepared, with a few notes and phrases!

Who knows about your Epipen?

If you have severe, life-threatening allergies and carry an Epipen are your friends aware that you have one on you? Or perhaps even two. Do they know what the signs are that you are having a reaction? Personally, I am pretty quick to bring up the topic, with new friends and acquaintances as it is so important. What if something happened and you couldn’t administer it to yourself? If ever I am hesitant about telling someone, likely a person I don’t know well, I always remind myself… “there’s no shame  in having allergies, and the Epipen is what will save your life”. We all have our moments.

At work, my colleagues know about the Epipen, and I demo’d how to use the Epipen to the colleagues I share an office with. How do you discuss your allergies with your employer? Or do you? I know I was a little unsure at first how to approach them. In the end, it came down to a simple talk. In your experience, what has the response been? Are they accommodating?

 

XXI World Congress of Asthma is around the corner!

I am very excited to be attending thanks to Allergen NCE. There is a little more information on their website now about the topics that will be discussed and the FINAL Program is also up!

Looking through the numerous sessions, titles and keynotes & speakers has been extremely inspiring, as my primary concerns and interest lie in why asthma is on the rise, and, how to manage asthma in the work place or school. It is one thing to have a home that is clear of mold and dust and is controlled, however I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with alternate environments which have multiple triggers that are beyond my control.

Over the next few days, I will be looking through the program and trying to figure out which sessions I will be attending! It’s like looking at a menu! Hopefully I will be seeing some of you there!

BTW, I can’t seem to find abstracts yet either…

:)