Brand New to Allergies: Part One

This is a brand new territory for me. While most asthmatics also have allergies, I was always one of the lucky (?) ones without any allergies whatsoever. I have been tested numerous times through skin testing as well as blood tests, all of which came back completely negative. My former asthma doctor laughed and told me that I reacted more to the plain saline control skin prick than the allergens that were injected under the skin.

Experiencing allergy symptoms

I had never had any allergy symptoms to anything environmental etc. That is, until about a month and a half ago. I was working at the hospital like any other day when I noticed my eyes were starting the water. They wouldn't stop. Then my eyes started to itch and feel irritated. I kept wiping under my eyes and my coworker asked if I was crying. I told her no, and that my eyes were watering and starting to get itchy. I thought maybe I was exposed to something that was making it all happen.

Little did I know at the time, I was having textbook allergy symptoms. She told me it looked like I was experiencing allergies. I said “no way! I don't have ANY allergies at all!” I refused to believe it at first. But the more I thought about it and then realized that I did indeed have a slightly stuffy nose as well I knew it had to actually be allergies.

But why now?

Why at the age of 35 am I all of a sudden experiencing allergies?! That evening, after I got off work I stopped at the store and grabbed an over the counter allergy medication to try. I took it and the next morning I was so tired I felt like a complete zombie. Not a good thing when I have to be on my A-game all the time at the hospital. I emailed my doctor about it and was given a recommendation of a different allergy medicine to try that shouldn't make me as tired.

My husband, kids, and I left a few days later to go on vacation to Southern California to visit family for three weeks. Being that my husband and I were both born and raised there and moved to the Midwest last spring, I was optimistic that once there, the symptoms would disappear considering I had never ever had allergy symptoms while growing up and living there.

Unfortunately, I was wrong in my optimism.My itchy, watery eyes and slightly stuffy nose only got worse! I was super frustrated. I continued taking the medicine and it wasn't helping much so I emailed my doctor again to give an update. He recommended I try an OTC steroid nasal spray in addition. The combination seemed to help a lot.

Learning to manage allergy symptoms

We had a wonderful vacation and are now back home. I am still having symptoms and some days are worse than others. Now it was time to start paying close attention to the pollen and allergen counts each day.

Thankfully these pesky allergies haven't sent my asthma into a tailspin but I can definitely feel my chest getting tighter. It is time for me to give my asthma action plan a tune up and I’ll be making an appointment with my Pulmonologist to meet and make necessary adjustments.

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