Taking Allergies Seriously

I often see people talking about having a reaction to their pump infusion sets or CGMS. That discussion often leads to conversations about how to deal with those reactions and be able to continue to use the device that is causing the problem. This last year, I have been dealing with a lot of allergies – latex/spandex/elastic, eggs, and even formaldehyde in clothes, just to name a few. Last year, I wrote about a bump I had on my back and finally figuring out how some of the problems that I was having was actually because of the latex and elastic in my clothing.

One thing that struck me when I was reading up on allergies was a statement on the NIH website. I linked to that particular article in my post last year and you can read the full text here:

Although first-time exposure may only produce a mild reaction, repeated exposures may lead to more serious reactions. Once a person has had an exposure or an allergic reaction (is sensitized), even a very limited exposure to a very small amount of allergen can trigger a severe reaction.

Yesterday in Facebook, one of my d-friends posted about a Type 1 diabetic that died. He died from anaphylaxic shock – which is a severe allergic reaction. My comment on her post was that so many of us have allergies because we have screwed up immune systems that this is a good reminder that we have to take these things seriously. I do not know what caused his reaction, whether it was something new that he was exposed to or accidentally exposed to something he knew he had a problem with, but sadly, he did die from his reaction.

Obviously, just because you have a reaction to something doesn’t mean that you are going to die from it – I walked around for about a year without knowing what was going on. However, you shouldn’t ignore it either.  In my case, I did tell several doctors and it was brushed off.  I did not realize that the problems were because of allergies.

I made an appointment with a dermatologist last year because of the bump on my back and had to see her nurse practitioner. That NP told me that cramping was not a sign of allergies, even though abdominal pain is listed on the NIH link above as a sign of a moderate to severe allergic reaction.  She was obviously not up on allergies!

Back around 2003, I was getting allergy shots for common things like trees, grass and dust. All of a sudden, my allergist’s office had everyone resign what the rules were for getting an allergy shot – you were supposed to stay in their waiting room about 20 minutes after receving the shot, check your arm and report anything to the nurse before leaving. They also were more direct about asking if you did that each time. I later changed jobs and my new bosses wife worked at a different allergist’s office. Apparently one of the patients there died after having a bad reaction. They claimed that she had a problem the week before and did not report it. I know that doctor’s tend to blame anything that goes wrong on the patient, so I don’t necessarily buy into that without knowing her side of what happened. My point is, someone even died in an allergists’s office. Allergies are serious and not to be taken lightly.

My advice to anyone that is having an allergic reaction to something is to make an appointment with a good allergist. Your endo/CDE/PCP/nurse might be good, but allergies are NOT their specialty. There are ways to get around allergies, but you should be working with an allergist and not forcing something on your body that it is trying to reject.



2 thoughts on “Taking Allergies Seriously

  1. Great post, Kelly. Thank you!

    I’ve been meaning to schedule some time with an allergist for some food stuff, especially while trying to branch out. This is a great reminder to take this stuff seriously.

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