Allergic reactions in the time of COVID-19

by amanda
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acute allergic reaction to food
Acute allergic reaction to food due to cross-contamination

Monday 13th April – Tears of joy

Dear Diary, I broke down in tears today as I watched Corey drift off peacefully to sleep. I cried, not because of how exhausting these four years has been taking care of him, but because his skin was SO GOOD.

I get these epiphanies every now and then. Sometimes these moments pop up when he is lasting longer without scratching. Or that he has finally slept longer through the night. After 4 years of ‘I don’t know’, I can now answer my friend Danielle’s question of when eczema babies will sleep through the night. My eczema baby IS FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! High fives all around!

It feels like we have finally turned another corner in our allergy and eczema journey. Four long years since this battle started. I’ve spent far too many days and nights managing the itch, confused over mysterious reactions.

Yes, a well-deserved sob is in order before I head off to a good night’s sleeps because I no longer need to wake at the slightest stir of my baby monitor.

Tuesday 14th of April – Tears of anger

Dear Diary,

In tears again today. Instead of joy, these were tears of mum guilt and anger.

Angry at myself for not remembering that Corey had not tried that luncheon meat I used in his lunch, before.

Upset, that even though the label on the tin looked safe, cross-contamination is abound in local products.

Frustrated that, in the middle of this COVID-19 circuit breaker situation we ended up at the children’s emergency room. Worrying that we could be exposing ourselves to extra risk by going to the hospital only added to the stress.

The only bright spark was how calm and efficient our hospital visit was.

“An acute case of mysterious food allergic reaction not resulting in anaphylaxis.” Said the A and E doctor’s diagnosis. She tested me on my knowledge of how to use my EpiPen and sent us on our way home.

Looks like we dodged another bullet and this EpiPen will continue to be within arm’s reach if ever needed.

I watched Corey drifting off to sleep, antihistamines taking effect plus exhaustion from the afternoon’s excitement. Now, I finally catch a breath. No matter how many times the acute allergic reactions happen, each one is heart wrenching and stressful.

How I hate having being hyper-vigilant all the time. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting. This is the life of an allergy parent. It was not what I signed up, but when I see my son thriving, growing well and not itchy, it is a testament that yes I am doing this right.

What’s my point?

The post-COVID-19 world is just the same shit different day for the allergy parent, keep learning

Yes, this COVID-19 situation sucks. We will learn to adjust to it, the same way we parents of allergic children learned to cope with allergies and eczema. I know that every time I let my guard down, we end up in the emergency room. But each time, I also learn a little more about my son’s allergic symptoms so these are notes for our next doctor’s review.

Managing allergies in young children is extremely stressful and the whipsaw of emotions can be very unsettling. Look for support when you need it and don’t feel afraid to reach out. Join a support group or talk to a professional if caring for your allergic child becomes too overwhelming.

Want to join our allergic kiddos parent support group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/speakallergysquad/about/

Trust our healthcare system and if it does not feel right, head to a doctor straight away.

The internet age has sprouted many alternative forms of diagnosis and medical advice. But fundamentally most of what can be found online is not validated by doctors. More specifically, advice online does not relate to each unique ailment and situation.

COVID-19 lurking around means most people may hesitate when deciding whether to head to the doctor or hospital. I experienced this myself with an allergic reaction in March where we drove to the hospital carpark, ready to go in if the reaction escalated. Fortunately, in that instance, the antihistamine worked so all we did was go for a car ride.

If it doesn’t feel right and you are unsure how to handle the allergic reaction, head to the hospital with your medicines and Epipen. Lucky for us in Singapore, our healthcare system is orderly and not overwhelmed by the COVID-19 cases. So we were in the out in under 2 hours.

There are many things about the post-COVID-19 world that benefits those with allergies. Namely social distancing and no sharing of food help to reduce allergen exposure. But more on that in the next post.

poor labelling resulting in cross contamination
The unfortunate labelling
in hospital isolation allergic reaction
In insolation room, waiting to see the doctor during an allergic reaction

GENERAL DISCLAIMERS:

All opinions and views expressed herein are the author’s own and not anyone else’s. Any quotes from medical healthcare professionals are written from the author’s perspective and should not be construed as medical advice. Every child and every symptom is different thus it is important to seek advice from a professional allergist or dermatologist for your unique situation. All images and pictures on this website are copyright of the owner of this website and cannot be used or downloaded without permission.

Drop by to say hi, send me a shoutout at amanda@projectsimplicity.sg or follow me on Instagram @amandaprosimple and Facebook @projectsimplicitysg

Want to join our allergic kiddos parent support group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/speakallergysquad/about/

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