My Truths #136 (food allergies)

by Stephanie

I didn’t have any food related allergies that I was aware of until a few years ago. One warm summer evening, while out for a walk, I started to feel itchy and hives started appearing on my neck and back. This had never happened before. I didn’t know any better so I went home and took a warm shower.  This just made matters worse. I ended up with swollen lips and forehead and terrible hives. We had walked by a lawn being sprayed with chemicals so I thought this might have been the trigger. This happened two more times before I was able to deduce what was happening. The food trigger was shrimp but to make it more mysterious I had eaten shrimp after the first incident without any problems. The reaction was caused by shrimp combined with an elevated body temperature i.e. in all 3 cases I exercised outdoors on a warm evening immediately after eating shrimp. This is known as exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

The antidote is an oral antihistamine, a cold shower and cold compresses. If I could time it properly (say two days before my high school reunion) it’s better than Botox! Day two results in a nice smooth, wrinkle free forehead and plump lips a la Angelina Jolie. All kidding aside, I avoid shrimp now because I worry that the reaction could get worse. Further exposure could produce a dangerous anaphylactic reaction which could interfere with my breathing or swallowing. I also carry Benadryl with me all the time just to be safe.