The Lesson: Understanding

September 12-12-12 project forced me to re-examine my assumptions. I ASSUMED allergies were not as valid of a health concern as say MS or vestibular disorders.

ASSUMPTIONS CANNOT EXIST when they are overwhelmed by facts. So let’s break any assumptions we may have about the severity of allergies.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, here are a few facts.

  1.  Food allergies account for 30,000 visits to the emergency room each year.
  2.  Exposure to latex allergen alone is responsible for over 200 cases of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) each year.
  3. Nearly 400 Americans die each year due to drug allergies from penicillin.
  4. More than 200 deaths occur each year due to food allergies.
  5. The annual cost of allergies is estimated to be nearly $14.5 billion.



Now that we have dispelled the myth that allergies are not a serious health concern let’s move onto the next step, understanding.

How many of you will openly admit you dismiss the sign hanging in your doctor’s office that reads…

“Be courteous of other patients and don’t use scented lotions or perfumes.”

12-12-12 project member Sarah Mills shares with us the important lesson on understanding…

Severe allergies are not as understood as much as they should be, partly because you just don’t hear about it. A lot of patients are tucked away, hidden away in a little bubble, basically because they have to be.

If someone says to you, “Can you alter your ways because it affects me?” do it. It makes such a difference.

Much love,
Marissa

p.s. Thank you Sarah for being open enough to help dispel incorrect assumptions myself or others that have come across this blog have held!

Podcast September 12-12-12 With Project Member Sarah Mills- Severe Alleriges

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The month of September was a journey toward understanding severe allergies.

Working alongside 12-12-12 project Sarah Mills, I realize we have been given an awesome gift.

Sarah is open and honest about the adjustments she is making in order to survive the restricting and volatile world of severe allergies.

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How You Can Help Sarah:

Standing order mandate
Donate via Paypal
Easyfundraising.org.uk

Much Love,
Marissa

The End Of The Allergy Food Rotation Diet Is Here…

It’s DAY 7, and the final day participating in an allergy food rotation diet.

I am filled with a few emotions right now….

RELIEF – There is a sense of calm that’s come over me. I felt throughout the week I was stuck in lock and load mode. Always a bit anxious about eating outside of the restrictions.

GUILT- Guilt that I feel so relieved that the week is over. Guilt, that babe and I talked about eating one of my favorite foods at midnight tonight.

ACCOMPLISHMENT- There were several opportunities for me to ditch this 7 day food rotation diet. I was happy that I didn’t cave in.

SADNESS – I am seriously worried about Sarah’s health. It hurts me to know that she is forced to make so many unfair adjustments.

BUT… here’s the truth. It’s not about me.

IT’S ABOUT SARAH AND AWARENESS OF THOSE THAT ARE LIVING WITH SEVERE ALLERGIES. 

This is not a fad diet to Sarah and others forced to make strict dietary choices. Sarah is adhering to a strict diet so that she doesn’t encounter an allergic reaction that could kill her.

What’s the point of this 7 day food rotation diet? AWARENESS

The NEXT TIME a family member, friend, co-worker, ask you to make an adjustment because of an allergy, DO IT!

 

Much love,
Marissa

You Can Never Be Too Careful

It’s Friday, and I have hit Day 5 of the Allergy Food Rotation Diet.

I believed I was being extremely careful adhering to the strict dietary restrictions 12-12-12 project member Sarah is forced to follow.

Yet, I realize I have been treading over dietary land mines.

Land mine #1: Gluten

One of the food restrictions on Sarah’s list is gluten.

Let’s define gluten:

“A substance present in cereal grains, esp. wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.”

OK, that’s easy enough. I made a mental note….STAY AWAY from cereals and breads.

WRONG!

After a defrosting mistake the other night, I plowed ahead attempting to make chicken and egg fried rice. Sounds delicious, right? Who doesn’t want to liven things up with a little soy sauce?

CAREFUL… did you know that soy sauce contains wheat? (They actually make a gluten free soy sauce! )

soy sauce ingredients

Check out the ingredients list!

Land mine #2: Yeast

Just purchase gluten free bread, right? As long as it’s gluten free I’m still under the guidelines.

WRONG!

Also, noted on Sarah’s list is an allergy to yeast. Duh Marissa, most breads contain yeast! I was SO FOCUSED on locating a gluten free bread that was nut free that I overlooked yeast.

Bread ingredients: Yeast

Under all those ingredients you will stumble upon yeast!

Lesson learned:

Those that suffer severe allergies are forced to take extreme caution to avoid allergens. Here, I thought I was being extra diligent. If I had severe allergies like Sarah I would have not ONCE, but twice caused myself a severe reaction!

Much love,
Marissa

IgE Antibodies Are The Culprit And Allergies Are The Response!

Last week’s blog post titled, Allergies Are An Inappropriate Immune Response. What’s Appropriate? I attempted to explain what happens to an immune system that responds appropriately to viruses, bacteria, and other invaders.

Antibodies (fighter proteins) are formed, antigens (bacteria, viruses, invaders) are attacked, and ridden.

In a person WITHOUT allergies, substances can pass through the bodies immune system without a response.

In a person WITH allergies, substances normally seen as “harmless” become allergen invaders and the body will react.

Woman With An Allergy Smelling A Flower

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to Allergy Therapeutics, here are examples of substances that can turn into allergens…

* Pet dander

* Tree and Grass Pollen

* Moulds

* Certain foods

*Insect venom

*Dust mites

The allergen substances attack, and the body responds by creating several antibodies.

It’s necessary to note that there are 5 DIFFERENT CLASSIFICATIONS of antibodies. When dealing with allergies, IgE antibodies are the culprit.

SO…. when your body is producing antibodies to fight off what it believes is “harmful” the result can lead to allergic reactions.

We know that memory cells are created to “remember” the specific intruder. SO…the next time your body encounters an allergen substance the body remembers to attack!

The attacks set’s off a chemical release known as histamine. (A compound that triggers the inflammatory response).

According to the Breakspear medical group

“Contact with an allergen (the item that causes the reaction) can be with your skin, eyes, or with the lining of your lungs, mouth, oesophagus (gullet), stomach or intestine.”

As more chemicals are released into the body, annoying to life threatening symptoms can form.

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny Nose
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Skin Rash
  • Watery eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Congestion
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Difficulty Breathing

AND more

Much love,
Marissa

P.S. How can such a beautiful and complex process go SO WRONG?

References:

http://www.allergytherapeutics.com/what-substances-commonly-cause-allergic-reactions.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histamine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigen
http://wiki.medpedia.com/Allergy_and_Autoimmune_Disorders
http://www.scienceclarified.com/Al-As/Antibody-and-Antigen.html#b
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergy-symptoms-types

 

Got Allergies?

Chronic allergies?

This month’s focus is going to be on severe allergies. I am going to take one for the team and display my allergy ignorance.

My assumptions about allergies are as follows:

  • Seasonal
  • Avoidable
  • Caused by peanut butter or seafood
  • Life threatening but in extremely rare cases
  • Can be easily treated with medication

ASSUMPTIONS MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE!

I am EXCITED to be spending time with 12-12-12 project member Sarah Mills. With her guidance, I will test my assumptions, learn, and report back my findings.

Much love,
Marissa