One of the weirdest questions I receive about my allergies is what they feel like. This question usually comes after being asked about the symptoms, which is a rant for another time, because their symptoms question went unanswered and thus sparked a feelings question.
Feelings questions always bug me, because they’re like these things you can’t get rid of, but people seem to think asking and receiving answers to feelings questions are puzzles just dying to be resolved. People like to fix problems, I get it. But seriously, questions about feelings are the worst. I’m an aspie. Explaining my feelings is a difficult task, especially when I don’t feel anything about something and/or don’t automatically assign a feeling to something.
Maybe that’s why therapy didn’t work like people expected it to.
Anyway, this is a rundown of how certain allergens and their reactions make me feel. They may result in different feelings for others.
It’s also not a post to read for those with weak stomachs. Proceed with caution. (I can talk about gross stuff easily. For the longest time, I was one of two gals in a household of five.)
Peanuts, tree nuts, coconuts & cedar trees
Peanuts and tree nuts (including coconuts) cause anaphylaxis. Now that I think about it, cedar trees always caused asthma attacks, which weren’t necessarily resolved by my Albuterol inhaler…which might have actually been anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis feels like drowning and like I’m about to die. It’s this instant “oh, no!” feeling crowding my head. TV makes it hilarious sometimes, but it’s actually terrifying—especially if you read about how people’s epinephrine auto-injectors didn’t suffice.
The smell of coconut is nice, but scares me. The smell of peanuts and other tree nuts makes me feel nauseous.
The sight of these things makes me anxious and fills my head with worry about my impending doom.
When these things touch my skin, I feel itchy because of the rash.
Molds (cheese, dairy) and various yeast-forming things (e.g. ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.)
Depending on how much I consume, what with, and when, I may feel anything from a sore throat to nauseated for several days. Mind you, I won’t vomit…I’ll just feel like it. It’s like knowing you’re sick, but you’ve not done anything to prove it yet. It’s just this horrendously awful feeling you can’t be so quick to dismiss, because if you’re not careful, you might really upset your stomach.
Tums don’t always work, and if so, they don’t work long-term. I dislike taking the Pepto Bismal tablets, because they turn my tongue black, and it gets on my toothbrush. I don’t like/trust Pepto Bismal liquid anymore, because the last time I took it, I threw up. The liquid junk is dead to me.
Also, fun fact: anaphylaxis includes vomiting.
Penicillin/penicillium and blueberries
Penicillium goes into blue cheese…it’s what makes it blue. This sucks, because I like blue cheese dressing. I’ve found a vegan, allergen-friendly version, I just have yet to try it. The only downside is that it contains soy and vinegar (yeast-forming).
I’ve actually mentioned the aftermath a few times before: flu-like symptoms, then turns into full-on virus symptoms. Like, you might as well call it that. My body temperature, which is circa 96ºF when I’m not sick, reaches 103ºF. I’m miserable and have lost my taste buds, so obviously Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup is acceptable during this time, even though it’s a canned food (mold-forming) and contains eggs.
The medicine produces a vomit volcano, and my #1 priority when doctors are prescribing antibiotics is to NOT be prescribed this. Like, penicillin makes me feel like my immune system has been shut down and I am forced to fend for myself. (Thus turning that dental surgery into the absolute worst ever.)
Fun fact: I first discovered my blueberry allergy when my mom made blueberry muffins from a “New & Improved!” mix that recently started using REAL blueberries. I ate a muffin and got really sick, and the only difference was that they used actual blueberries. I have wondered, over time, if it was really the blueberries, so I played daredevil and ate various foods with them. ‘Twas definitely the blueberries
I’m likely going to be annoyed because I’m itching/coughing my sanity off. I get so annoyed with this—because cough medicine/drops don’t suffice—I’d rather wait it out. Same with the “seasonal allergy” symptoms, which happen year-round for me.
If you have a difficult time putting yourself in a person who has allergies’ shoes, just picture yourself always having a cold, yet having to push through life anyway, even more so on the days in which you have a fever…
…and maybe cut those of us who have a ton of allergies some slack, yeah? Because allergies are just one of the things we have to deal with.