A Trip to the Allergist…

Growing up in DC, I had allergies every spring.  Every. Single. Spring.  From just after my birthday until the middle of May, I would sneeze, sniffle, blow, and wheeze until I was miserably dragged to the Doctor for antibiotics (my sinuses always wound up infected) and a shake of the head (from both parties) and a hope that eventually I would grow out of my seasonal affliction.  

Fast forward a few years and a few thousand kilometers where I’ve been living happily allergy-free in Australia for almost 11 years.  I hadn’t really given my allergies a second thought until two things happen:  1, I went home for my birthday last year and it turns out, I didn’t actually grow out of my allergies, I moved away from them (I don’t think The Runner has ever seen me so sick or so miserable) and 2, I started sneezing after a few glasses of wine– every time I had a few glasses of wine.  

Not being able to go outside I can handle, not being able to drink wine– out of the question, too horrible to think about.  

For most of the last 10 months, I’ve been suffering, nose spraying, and drugging myself and enjoying wine as normal…. except it’s not really that enjoyable to go through a box of tissues on a Sunday or to wake up sneezing at 4am after a few drinks.  I’ve battled through and annoyed The Runner in the process.  (If I’m blowing my nose at 4am, he’s listening to me blow my nose at 4am!)  I went to a naturopath, who put me on a detox for 6 weeks– and yes, not drinking helped, in fact it solved the problem, but not sustainable long term….So, yesterday I went to an allergist…

And this is the result….



I got allergy tested and this is my right arm.  It kind of looks like a Braille sign, doesn’t it?  Or one of those relief maps that we had in school that I’ve never seen in real life.  This is the arm that they tested for grasses, pollens, moulds, and dust.  Yep, I’m allergic.  Very allergic to all of them.  Not a single blank spot on this arm.  Completely and totally allergic to everything they tested me for.  It’s no surprise really, but it was interesting to see scientific proof….

Oh, and the other arm?  The food and animal arm?

ImageYeah, that arm’s fine.  Apparently the mini-bump that I had for corn is actually a cross reaction that you find in people who are really allergic to some grasses.  

It was really quite a funny experience.  Funny, in an burning, itchy right arm sort of way.  But it was really interesting to have it done, and I’d actually recommend it and would definitely do it to my prospective, future children.  For one, now that I know exactly what I’m allergic to, I can do things to mitigate the effects- especially for dust mites.  For things I can’t control, like Springtime, well, I’m starting a course of allergy shots.   Yes, I have to take them for 18 months+ but at the end, hopefully I’ll be able to play in parks in DC in April without itchy watery eyes and a runny nose which would be good.

The Allergist didn’t tell me what was causing my runny wine nose other than that wine, cheese, and a few other foods are Histamine-rich– and I have a bad, supersensitive nose/sinus system that will react to some things differently to other people.  There’s not a lot I can do, but he did give me a stronger nose spray, some advice on pseudoallergies and wished me luck.  Oh, and I’ll be seeing him every week for the next little while– for my shots– and not the vodka kind!


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