David's Allergy Story- Developing a Food Allergy in Adulthood
By David T, November 2021
As a 28-year-old who has had the freedom of eating whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted – it never occurred to me that I could develop an allergy as an adult.
I had skin prick allergy tests conducted to check for allergies in my youth, which came back negative. And throughout my childhood and adult life, I had no restrictions on what I could eat.
That is until April this year, where I had eaten a handful of cashews late one evening before going to bed.
It wasn't the first time I'd eaten cashews, but it was many years ago since I had some. I'd known from prior research that cashews contained magnesium, a mineral that acts as a natural sedative.
Sleep that night was virtually non-existent. A few hours in, I felt itchiness on the back of my knee and all over my forearms. My initial thought was that a mosquito had bitten me. But this time, it felt different.
Every time I scratched on the inflamed area, it spread to other areas of my body. It bothered me so much that I had to race into the bathroom for a clearer view under the lights.
To my shock, I was covered top to bottom with puffy, red, raised welts. Fortunately, my younger brother, who is a medical doctor, suggested taking an antihistamine to reduce the swelling, which I took.
The next day, the hives were still present, but I quickly found- "when you don't set your mind to it, you won't realise it is there".
Soon after, a scheduled doctor's appointment proved unnecessary as the rashes had entirely disappeared by then. I was lucky not to have had shortness of breath, wheezing, watery eyes, or anaphylaxis in a worst-case scenario. And, having the support of my family was paramount in keeping me level-headed in managing the thought of now having a food allergy.
Having an allergy has certainly instilled a sense of diligence, emphasised the importance of speaking up for myself, being more cautious of what I eat, and accepting that my body has changed over time. I have come to realise being patient and calculated may prove the difference between experiencing a delicious meal at an Italian restaurant or being stretchered to the back of an ambulance racing to the hospital.
Tree Nuts are still part of my diet, with cashews being the exception. I have a newfound respect for allergy sufferers, it is a daily battle, but they are winning at the end of the day.
I would encourage allergy sufferers to be open and upfront; we live in a tolerant and accepting society. Food allergies are no fun to live with, but if you know your symptoms, avoid cross-contamination when cooking at home, read food labels, and have an action plan, there is no reason why you can't live a normal life.
Thank you David for sharing your Allergy Story with the community🙏
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