Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Website!

Dear Readers,

I have moved my blog to the following website:  I hope you will continue to read my blog at my new location! 

Thank you,
Miss Allergic Reactor

Monday, April 2, 2012

AllergyEats Continues to Grow

I was reading some articles this morning and noticed one in the L.A. Times about AllergyEats ( and was happy to see that it is continuing to build and grow.  I have been living in Italy for the past three years, so I have yet to try it out personally, but I certainly see it as a helpful and useful resource for Allergic Reactors.

Has anyone out there used this source to help them find a allergy-safe restaurant?  I would love to hear more from people who have used it!  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can You Identify Types of Nuts?

As an Allergic Reactor to all tree nuts and peanuts, I have always stayed as far away as possible whenever I have seen them.  There have been some articles recently about whether children and adults who have nut allergies, can actually properly identify the different types of nuts (article and Huffington Post Link).

The study was done at Ohio State University.  The article states that only about half of the participants, both adults and children, could identify the different types of tree nuts and peanuts.  The results showed that adults were able to identify them better than children, but not by much.  

I think they are missing the main point though of having these allergies.  I am not sure how important it is to necessarily know the name of each type of nut, as it is to know "oh hey, that is a nut and I need to stay away."  If you have had these allergies since you were a child, like me, more than likely you were shown visually what nuts were.  The names of each type were not as relevant if I couldn't eat any of them anyway. 

I am always a promoter of more education, so I do agree with the study, that maybe there should be more education for people who are Allergic Reactors.  Most importantly, recognizing visually that you can't eat it because it is a nut, is really the main concern.  If your child recognizes what nuts look like, and know to avoid them, then that is most significant.

Readers, what do you think?  Did you read these articles?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Year of Busyness!

Dear Readers,

I am so sorry for the lack of posts lately!  My year has been extremely busy, but I am now hopefully back to a consistent schedule of postings.

There have been some interesting articles that I have noticed in the news lately about food allergies, and I am excited to write about them and hear your thoughts as well.  Topics that I look forward to writing about this week are: Allergic Reactor's ability identifying types of tree nuts, Allergic Reactor's feeling bullied, and Allergic Reactor's feelings of normalcy in everyday life. 

I hope that you will also share your thoughts on these significant topics! 

I look forward to writing more,

Miss Allergic Reactor

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Scary Feeling- Asthma and Environmental Allergies

This morning I woke up from a terribly scary dream, to realize that part of it was a bit real.  In my dream, the building was on fire and it was hard to breath around the smoke.  When I woke up, I could feel the tightness in my chest, and realized that part did indeed feel real.

Over the past few months, since I have been back in Italy from my summer holiday to the States, I haven't had many environmental allergies or asthma.  Over the past two weeks however, I have felt a tightness in my chest from a cough and the quick change to cool weather.  This was a feeling I hadn't experienced in a while, and took me by surprise.  Feeling this way is uncomfortable for someone who doesn't have allergies or asthma, but for someone who does, it accentuates that feeling that much more!

Right now as I sit here typing, drinking hot tea in a cool apartment, I feel the tightness and I find it a bit frightening.  I am telling you this, because it is important as a parent, that you understand how vital you are to them.  Parents are the best comfort your children have when they feel this way.  I am sure it is even scarier for them because they don't know how to express the way they are feeling.  At least as an adult, I know the things I can do to try to help myself.  For parents who share this blog with their children, it is important that your children know that they are not the only ones who feel this way.  It is a scary and frustrating feeling, and although you may not understand how they feel, you can understand that they are scared and need you.

I don't often worry or feel concerned about my allergies or asthma, but whenever I feel like this, that worry does exist.  To help myself worry less, these are the strategies I use:

1.) I take deep breaths and tell myself to relax and stay calm (if I cry or escalate in any way, I will only feel worse and have an even more difficult time).

2.) If necessary, I take my rescue inhaler (I use ProAir).

3.) I keep track of my breathing by measuring with my Peak Flow Meter to see how off my breathing really is, or if I am more nervous, when my breathing may actually be in a safe range.

4.) I drink hot tea and run a hot shower to breath in the steam.

5.) I find something to do, read, or watch that will relax me, so I am not solely focused on the tightness.

I have had a few instances where my rescue inhaler did not help as much as it should, and I had to go to the hospital.  Fortunately,  that has been very few instances (and usually when I have been sick, extremely stressed out, or around pets).  If your child's tightness is that severe, a hospital is certainly the most important place to be!

Of course, with these experiences, it always tends to be situational...

Checking in with your child and making sure they know that you are there is extremely important.  Teaching them also what to do, is a skill they will need to take with them as they grow up and live on their own someday (like me).

One other point I want to make, is the importance as a parent, of not showing your own worry or panic in front of your child.  Although you as a parent are certainly entitled to feel panicked, it is something that will only worry your child more and make them feel even worse and more scared themselves.  You as a parent need to make sure to feel in-control and in-charge of the situation.  That way you will put both your child and yourself more at ease.  

I am lucky that I can't remember my parents ever showing serious worry in front of me throughout my growing up.  However, I did have other adults who showed their worry, and made me feel that much worse, and much more frightened.  That is why I know the feeling, and know how much worse it feels as a child!    

Although I am now on my own, and my parents are not here in Italy with me to comfort me in-person, I do know that they are only a skype call away, and my Italian family (not by blood, but by love and care) is only one floor below, and that is a comfort I am fortunate to have!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sometimes people forget...

This year, I have dealt with a number of more uncomfortable allergy situations, mostly due to people forgetting.  If you are not around an Allergic Reactor all of the time, it is much easier to not remember both how severe their allergy can be, and how to be careful so they don't feel uncomfortable.

Last month I went to a newly discovered bookstore in my city.  I met one of my Italian friends there to have a coffee and browse around the store.  When we ordered our drinks and sat down at a table in the cafe of the bookstore (which is very uncommon in Italy to find), chips and a variety of nuts were brought to the table to go along with our drinks (this is something that is typical here and doesn't surprise me anymore). My friend started snacking on the nuts, and although they were on her side of the table, it did still make me feel a bit uncomfortable.  I felt like I had to be more on-guard about her movements and what she touched. She knows about my allergies, but I did need to remind her about the severity and that I couldn't touch them, etc.

This experience reminded me that sometimes even people that know about my allergies can still forget the severity, and that sometimes people that I infrequently spend time with, may need a  brief reminder!  Don't be scared to remind people!  It is important as an Allergic Reactor to keep yourself safe!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

There is change...slowly.

Yesterday evening I went out to dinner with three friends I have been close with since elementary school.  We walked around the waterfront area, and asked a few different restaurants if they would serve me.  I showed them my Chef Card, and the managers would come out and say they didn't feel comfortable serving me because of my fish/shellfish allergy.  We then finally ended up at Joe's American Bar and Grill because I had gone there last summer and had no problem.  It said on the bottom of the menu to tell your server if you have any allergies, so I figured that showed some awareness anyway.

When it was time to order, I asked if the server could check on the turkey burger for me.  I remembered having it last year without a problem, and remembered it being pretty delicious.  He came back with my Chef Card a few minutes later.  He said that the manager would be right out.  The manager came out and explained that he was worried about the turkey burger because they cooked fish, and he was also worried about some rice I had asked about ordering as an appetizer (I was starving after participating in a scavenger hunt/bar crawl, and was ready to eat about anything I wasn't allergic to).  He then asked if I would want a pasta dish.  I ended up ordering a generic pasta veggie combo dish.  The food was fine, but it was definitely a different experience than the prior year at that same restaurant.  The manager seemed overly worried about my allergies.  I would much rather have that though, than have a manager that won't take them seriously!

Every time I come back to America, I do notice changes.  Many restaurants and food establishments have signs asking to let them know if you have a food allergy.  People in general also seem to be taking it mores seriously and are more aware of the actions that need to be taken.  I know it is still a slow process, but change is happening, and with the continuation of educating people, hopefully more awareness and understanding will continue.