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My Allergy Story - Hayley

My Allergy Story - Hayley

Have you ever heard someone say 'Oh I love the smell of cut grass'?

That person is NOT me!  I hate it - I associate it with pain, sneezing, itching, sneezing some more.  I would sit on the grass at school and come away with a rash.  I hated it and don't talk to me about privot.  OMG that is worse.  

After allergy tests it turned out that I was as allergic to grass as a human could be and dust was up there too.  

Anti-histamines were my best friend for years and years and years and they were expensive.  

In around 2003 (ish - can't remember) whilst working at my corporate job in Auckland City, living the dream, saving for a building a house with my soon to be husband and working hard, I had an allergic reaction to NSAIDs.  That is Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs.  We know this as nurofen, aspirin and ibuprofen.  I used to suffer from migraines (still do but not as often) and the only thing that worked was cataflam if I caught it in time.  

I had taken the pills and kept working and then my voice stared to sound really weird and it was hard to talk and I came up with a bright red rash.  Thankfully we had a medical centre across the road and a friend took me there.  A shot of adrenalin and a huge dose of anti-histamines later and I came right.  It was scary though, because this has never happened to me before.  

When I had recovered I was referred to an allergy specialist who confirmed that I was allergic to NSAIDs and should never take them again.  While I was there I had another allergy test and he spoke to me about the grass and dust allergy and how often I took anti-histamines.  I was still taking them for most of the year.  He advised that if I ever wanted to have babies I shouldn't take anti-histamines regularly.  

It was suggested that I start doing allergen immunotherapy to teach my body how to react when the allergen is inhaled by the body.  The treatment is delivered by injection starting with a very small amount of the allergen.  For me this was grass and dust.  The goal is to increase tolerance to the allergen being injected.

I remember going every day for a week, then every second day and then once a week and then once a month for a while.  Every time, the amount increased ever so slightly and I had to sit in the office for 20 minutes to ensure that I. was in no harm.  A bit like when you have a flu injection or when the kids had their immunisations.  

Gradually my body learnt to accept grass and dust as the harmless substance it is.

Now I only take anti-histamines once or twice a year when a specific plant is flowering.  I don't even know what plant it is but I sneeze and my eyes water but an anti-histamine sorts that out.  

However, like NSAIDs I have had other reactions to a few anti-biotics so I try really hard not to take them if I can help them but I will never take a NSAID again.  That means no Nurofen, no Aspirin, no Ibuprofen.  It's Paracetamol only and if I ever need anything stronger it would have to be codeine based but that doesn't happen often.  

Therefore I wear a Medical ID bracelet.  I need to make sure that if I ever had an accident and couldn't speak for myself that nobody gives me NSAIDs for inflammation or pain.   

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