It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, but there’s certainly good reason. First, an update – I’m in South Carolina! My family took our annual summer vacation early this year, so I’m soaking it up at the beach until Saturday. For the rest of the week, expect posts on great car snacks, how to deal with eating out and maybe even some local restaurant suggestions.
Eating out and being away from home are pretty scary for an allergy kid like you or me. But to add to that fear, I had an allergic reaction at a restaurant at home only a day before my family and I left for our trip. While the raised levels of histamines and not-so-far-off memories of the reaction made it pretty scary to leave, I decided to take things into my own hands, and to prepare, rather than wallow in fear.
Here are some easy tips and tricks that can help YOU prepare for the worst (and, of course, hope for the best).
1. Always (always always!) carry your Epi-pen, Twinject or Auvi-Q.
This one feels like a no-brainer, but sometimes you can be scattered or forget. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s important for your own health and safety to be close to perfect on this one. I always order extra auto-injectors, that way I can carry one in my purse, one in my backpack and one in my work bag. I never leave the house without at least one of these, so I never forget my Auvi-Q.
2. Bring backup.
The meaning of this differs for everyone. For me, backup is albuterol and a cell phone. For others, it may be benedryl, a special app on your phone, a printed out allergy plan or even just a buddy. These are the things that, in event of a reaction, will be the tools that help you stay safe. Your doctor can help you figure out what your backup is, and once you do, this backup should be treated just like an auto-injector.
3. Know your own health.
My first reaction away from home was terrifying, mostly because I did not know my way around an emergency room. I barely knew how to talk to doctors, and as for my social security number or insurance plan? I had no idea!
In order to expedite your treatment, it is important to know your own health history, social security number and insurance provider because you are expected to rattle these things off in the ambulance, upon your arrival and when you are checked into the hospital, all while you are less than healthy. Being prepared can help you to have faster treatment, and thus a less severe reaction.
4. Don’t be nervous!
Did you know that when you have an allergic reaction, chemicals in the brain are released that make you sense impending doom? And that the chemicals in your auto-injector can cause anxiety and fear?
With all of these extra fear chemicals floating around in your body, it would be hard to say don’t be scared. But in order to be treated properly, you’ll have to stay calm. If you are afraid of needles, hospital germs or maybe are just a bit of a control freak, you’re going to have to prepare yourself. The hospital will be germy. The doctor may have to give you an IV or an extra shot of epinephrine. People will be wheeling you around, instead of you telling them where to go. Preparing for these things – knowing that they will inevitably happen, is often a huge help for patients.
Allergic reactions are scary. You can, however, be prepared for the worst with these tips. How do you prepare for a reaction? What keeps you the safest?