Being diagnosed with an allergy can be a frightening experience, usually prompted by a negative reaction after coming into contact with a particular substance, food or maybe an insect sting or bite. Severe allergic reactions are life-threatening, and if you’ve experienced anaphylaxis, then we don’t need to tell you how scary they can be.
So, it’s no surprise that living with severe allergies can be anxiety-ridden. Unfortunately, it can make even some of life’s more simple tasks, that many people take for granted, completely nerve-racking and unbearable. But living in constant fear isn’t sustainable, it can lead to you suffering from severe anxiety and depression. Which is why learning to manage your allergies is so crucial to living a happier, fuller life.
If you’re after some advice on how to better manage your allergies, and feel confident stepping outside your own front door again, then we’ve got some useful tips.
- Educate yourself on your allergy
Knowledge is power, and the more you understand about your allergy the better armed you are to keep yourself safe. Get to know your own body and how you react differently to your triggers. It’s also a good idea to educate yourself on whatever it is you’re allergic to. Learn any alternative names that your allergen may have, as quite often on food, beauty and cleaning products, ingredients can be listed under either a chemical or latin name. Which means they can quite easily be overlooked.
- Educate your friends and family
We recommend also educating those close to you, especially if they’ll be serving you food or if you’ll be staying in or visiting their home. You might feel as though you’re being awkward, or bossy, but anyone close to you will only want the best for you. So, they’ll be only too happy to oblige and help keep you safe and healthy. If you carry an EpiPen, then make sure you have taught your friends and family, or anyone spending a long time with you, how to use it in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to refresh their memory if you haven’t had to use it in a while, too.
- Carry a kit
Do you have certain products or items which make you feel more in control of your allergy? If so, then why not make up a small kit of essentials you can take with you everywhere and anywhere. Items such as protective nitrile gloves, hand sanitiser, a face mask, anti-histamines, or eye drops. Whatever makes you feel better – pack it!
- Keep clean
One of the most effective ways to keep your allergen at bay, whatever it might be, is to clean – clean everything! Wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser, regularly. Remove and wash your clothing after being out and about. Wipe down surfaces and items you regularly touch, such as your mobile phone. This will help you prevent cross contamination as much as possible.
- Take necessary precautions
If there are any precautions you can take to protect yourself from your allergen, then take them. Even if you feel embarrassed to do so, or feel as if you’re being ‘difficult’ – don’t. Push those thoughts aside and put yourself and your health first. For example, this might mean calling up a restaurant before you visit to ask their policy on allergies and how they prevent cross contamination between ingredients.
- Know what you’re comfortable with
If you feel happier visiting places that you already know are ‘safe’, then do so. If you feel safer eating at restaurants, you’re familiar with, then go ahead. When it comes to living with severe allergies, you need to do whatever you’re comfortable with and what makes you feel happy and relaxed. Your friends and family will completely understand and be supportive of your preferences.
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask
Asking lots of questions can often be an embarrassing or awkward experience, but remember there’s nothing wrong with putting your health and allergies first. If you feel more comfortable asking over email rather than phone, then do so.
We hope you find these tips useful, as we understand how difficult it can be living with a severe allergy. But there really is no need to let your allergies rule your life. With a lot of research and understanding, and a little bit of preparation, you can do whatever you want with your life!