You may have noticed I haven’t been around as much lately. While I haven’t quite fallen off a cliff, it somewhat felt like that during the last couple of weeks. To make a long story short, we just moved.
Not only did we just move, but we moved to a small apartment with a teeny tiny kitchen, no mold (more on that in a second), and I had my very first anaphylactic allergic reaction as soon as we moved here.
But that’s getting ahead of myself.
We had recently come to the realization that a sudden upturn of moisture in our rental was creating mold issues, and that we needed to get out of it as soon as possible both for our children’s health, and also so our landlords could do the work they needed to on the house. There were some real health concerns that we had for a variety of reasons so we were motivated to attempt to move quickly.
We found a new place for ourselves, and then started a rather arduous task of packing everything up, and also sorting through all of the mold damaged stuff in our basement (most of which was simply tossed) in 2 weeks. Let’s just say we got no sleep for those weeks!
We just barely made it to the move date after I pulled a muscle in my back (that feels much better now after seeing a chiropractor), and barely had everything ready to go on our move date.
The next day, I repeated my snack from the day before – some pecans and dark chocolate chips when I suddenly had a burning face. I was confused by it, and went into the bathroom only to see my face start to turn bright, bright red and hives start racing down my arms and chest and neck (I didn’t know it then, but they also reached my legs). It got even more terrifying when less than a minute later I was starting to black out with a swelling face, collapsed on the floor while trying to give 911 our address.
Thank God, the reaction started improving and I began to be able to breath normally again. By the time the medics got to me, I was stable enough that they allowed my husband to drive me to the ER. All in all, let’s just say we went out and got my first epipen right away after being discharged from the ER.
While sorting through the craziness of the situation, and the scariness of it too, I’ve had all sorts of practical questions as well.
I found it interesting that I went my whole life without a true allergy (though I had some intolerances, they didn’t bother me that much since I took care to improve my diet – and nuts and chocolate never bothered me at all) only to have such a huge reaction. This is certainly not unknown. Adult onset of allergies is serious and, unlike children’s allergies, are usually here to stay for high percentages of us. In fact, my maternal grandmother also developed allergies as an adult to nuts and shrimp.
But the fact that it hit me like that after going through a very, very stressful month, a lot of mold exposure (which was bothering me a lot when we were sorting through the mold ruined items in our basement), sleeping very little, and eating somewhat irregular is just fascinating. Perhaps not related, but certainly I am keeping an open mind about it.
This just happened last Sunday, so I haven’t had much time to look into it, but certainly toxins are something that have been connected to a rise of true allergies. For example, a Canadian study linked air pollution in the first year of life to a higher risk of allergies at the age of 1. A common pesticide found in our water and on our produce, has also been linked to serious allergies.
I’ve now also lived in the city for 3 years, and pollution, although not the worst here, is not great. And the house we used to live in was right across from a city park, where I would see herbicides sprayed regularly (interesting to note that the pesticide noted above can also be used as a weed control product).
So while I start puttering around my kitchen with no dishwasher and no oven, and while the kids adjust to what they consider “a whole new life” that was suddenly thrust on them, I am also grappling with living with a life-threatening allergy which is a brand new thing for me.
While it is doubtful that I will get all of my “why” questions answered anytime soon, you better believe that my ears are going to perk up when I hear of any research on the topic!
Meanwhile, I’d love to also hear from you all! I know that you probably have resources and your own stories to share, and I’d love to hear them. I’d especially love to hear if there were things that any of you, with adult onset allergies, were able to do that calmed down that allergic response.
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What a frightening experience.
I used to get migraine headaches and allergy tests showed I was allergic to oatmeal ,shellfish, pork, cashews, pecans, coconut, port, and liquor. I also noticed without being tested that I can’t handle artificial sweeteners. One time I bought a toothpaste that claimed to whiten my teeth and that produced an allergic reaction. So my big problem is trying to find an energy bar without oatmeal or pecans or coconut. I was happy to find beef bacon and there’s also a bacon at The Fresh Market that doesn’t have nitrates in it so that was okay. Luckily none of my allergies put me into an allergic shock reaction needing aa epi pen. If I consume something by mistake, my lymp nodes swell up and I get light headed and a feeling of weakness. I just have to read labels and ask people what’s in their potluck dish.
Glad to see you are ok now. Blessings to you and your family in your new home. I’m also an Epi-pen carrier. I think you hit on main factors. You may Want to read about rotation diet since maybe overconsumption of a food group for a period of days could have played a role.
That definitely could have played a role in my case too for sure. That was one of our first thoughts.
Wow, Kimi! How scary for you. I’m so thankful you are on top of all that. And that you are still with us!
I’ve really only had one instance of severe hives in my life, so I’m no help in your study.
Oh my gosh, just [hugs]. I’m sorry you went through this rough path and I am praying for smoother days ahead. I receive your blog posts by e-mail but never left a comment, sorry about that.
I hope your family adjusts well and you can find the answers for your health condition. My sister developed severe allergies as an adult, and she is now free of most of them. A change of lifestyle (that included therapy and diet) was key on her case . But she also went to treatment with vaccines, they were very helpful.
All the best for you!
I’m very sorry to hear about your reaction. Sounds like life has been a whirlwind these last few weeks and I hope things slow down a bit soon. Have you heard of NAET doctors? If not, please look into them and see if there are any in your area. This is a special technique used to help your body reprocess how it reacts to the allergy. I know that our dr has had immense success treating children and adults and curing them of things like peanut and shellfish allergies. Take care!
Someone else mentioned that to me! It sounds really interesting, even though I know it doesn’t work for everyone. Thanks!
I have never had an anaphylactic reaction. However, I did go through a period in my life where I was absolutely allergic to so many things – even toothpaste. I would get a rash from even the natural ones (but could use baking soda). I developed food allergies / intolerances to about 50 foods. My pollen / mold allergies went through the roof. Saw several docs until I ended up at an integrative medical practice – their intake form was 18 pages long – and they wanted to know everything! The one thing that the doc said to me is that we all are like barrels – we can intake so much toxicity from daily life – from various things. And if the barrel gets too full, all kinds of things can happen – like what I was experiencing. I am generally doing much better now – I followed a very specific diet for many years plus do allergy shots. My experience was very different than yours – but the similarities are allergies out of “nowhere” and the barrel concept I found helpful. Praying that you get some answers. Perhaps your naturopathic physician could refer you to a more wholistic-minded allergiest. You are right that anaphylaxis is nothing to take lightly.
Oh Kimi! I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through this — so scary. Thankfully you’re doing okay and that somehow you improved enough to be able to communicate with 911.
I also have an adult-onset allergy to eggs that started 2 weeks after the birth of my second child following a severe gastrointestinal illness. For about 4 years it was only “mild” though recently it has become more severe with an anaphylactic episode this past April. Unfortunately, my reaction involves both the airway and gut so it knocked me out of commission for an entire day (not easy to do with little ones). I also carry an epi-pen everywhere and have to be very careful about ingredients and cross-contamination.
There are days when I feel sorry for myself (it would be so much easier if I could just eat the eggs we raise!), days when i’m angry (it’s too much work and I always have to watch my family enjoy treats like ice cream when we’re out and about) and days I’m just thankful it isn’t worse than it is.
But I hear you, grappling with what it means to have a sudden adult-onset allergy is hard. You’ll do your inner work and find ways to pecan-proof your life to the best of your abilities in time and soon it will be your “new normal”.
Wishing you health and happiness!
Thanks, Jessica! So sorry you also have an allergy. It’s interesting that you also developed yours after “stresses” on your body.
I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this and glad that you are okay!
Kimi, I am glad you are doing better. I know how frightened you must have been. I was 47 years old before I had my first anaphylactic shock. I reacted to the mosquito spray that the city puts out in the summertime. I had hives, swelling, headache and chest tightness…the whole nine yards. This has happened several times now. I also have had one, recently, to a medication that I was given after surgery. That one was the scariest because my throat actually started to close up. I have no scientific evidence, but I believe that what Jesse said has merit; that we can only handle so much toxicity and then our bodies just say, “Enough”! In all
instances of my reactions, there was major stress going on in my life, including one move, which almost by definition means that your normal eating and sleeping routines are interrupted. I am interested to see if others have similar stories.
Thank you for sharing, Laura! I do feel that certainly my body was not in a healthy place when this happened after being so extremely fatigued, which is why I am especially curious about that factor. And the mold was not good for me at all either.
I’m so glad you are okay! That type of reaction is so scary and since it happened with a food you have eaten safely before, it may not be a reaction to either the pecans or the chocolate, but to some other particle that was present on or in them. I’ve had severe allergies my whole life and keep Benadryl and an epipen with me at all times as a result. I once had a reaction to a bean and cheese burrito – I had eaten the exact same thing several times before, but it was a windy day and I think a mold spore or pollen spore made its way onto the burrito and I ingested it – it was very scary! For me, I notice immediate swelling of my gums and tongue and know I need to take Benadryl. A natural substance that I am trying is Moducare – it is made from Pine Sterols and helps to boost the immune system. With the exposure to mold that you’ve had, you may find it to be something to investigate. Good luck, I hope you never have that experience again!!
Moducare sounds really interesting! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
Wow, so glad to know you’re doing well after that shock. If toxic load contributed to what you just endured, consider a detox method I started using about 10 years ago when I began registering a large number of food sensitivities: ionic foot baths. Twice a month, I sit in my Naturopath’s office for a half hour with my feet in warm salt water containing a device that ionizes the bath. This pulls heavy metals and other toxins out of my body. It feels great, is gentler than chemical-based methods, and isn’t invasive like an IV. My regular MD is even aware of this technology and told me that these treatments actually stimulate your body’s detox pathways for some time after the bath. I became a believer when before/after urine tests showed large declines in lead and mercury (which I was surprised to find I had stores of in my body in the first place!) My wife used these baths to get off-the-chart levels of aluminum down to normal levels, which was especially important because she has a family history of dementia and there may be a connection. Anyway, I wish you the best during your recovery!
Thanks for sharing, Jim! That’s really interesting.
Jennifer at Purposeful Nutrition and The Entwife's Journal
Very interesting and scary. My guess is the mold stuff had something to do with it; probably overloaded your body. It would be interesting to share this with Andrea Fabry of It Takes Time website as she knows much about mold and see if it fits with things she has seen.
Kimi, thank you for sharing your frightening and stressful story. My heart goes out to you, and I hope you and your family are able to adjust to this new reality relatively smoothly. Blessings.
I had no allergic reactions as a child except for lobster which made me violently ill but when i hit about age 19 I started getting hay fever. Then about 7 years later had a strong reaction to strawberries where my eyelids swelled up and i could not stop sneezing. Now there are many foods I avoid. I seem to have “oral allergy syndrome”, salycilate/oxylate sensitivities, deadly nightshade sensitivities. And I have eaten organic food for a long time and rarely touch sugar. I did yoga, I thought I was doing everything right!
I honestly think for me it was antibiotic usage that weakened my immune system, killed the healthy bacteria in my gut where most of the bodies defense is. Just one usage of antibiotics (if the study I read was true) permanently destroys good bacteria that you might have had since childhood. Completely irradiates certain bacteria! It sounds funny but it really upset me when I understood that bacteria my body had developed since I was born had likely been wiped out. I personally won’t touch antibiotics now and slowly my immune system is getting better. I did get a lot of ear and throat infections as a child and into my early 20’s but i was otherwise strong and I KNOW my body would have healed, I would have recovered and been stronger for it.
If anyone is spraying pesticides I run. I really don’t need to ingest poison if I can help it. Stress and lack of fresh air made things worse for me. Strange things i consume now include pine needle tea, lol. Look it up, it has more vit C than oranges and is full of antioxidants. And yes I do think mold can push your immune system to it’s limit causing more sensitivity to other foods, etc. Btw, I think it is so excellent that you got out of that environment for your children and yourselves as well. Wishing you well.
I think that a high antibiotic use in my own childhood (and then some as an adult) definitely did its damage on me as well. I’m glad that they can save your life when needed, but I do regret that they didn’t realize the damage they were doing by treating minor health issues with them.
I started having anaphylactic reactions in college. Stress definitely seems to affect my susceptibility to having them and developing new ones. In the last few years I’ve started using homeopathic Apis for my allergic reactions. I keep the 1M potency around for anaphylaxis but I often find 200 C to be enough for the milder reactions (itchy throat, burning face, etc.). For myself, I would use Apis 1M even before the epi pen and repeat if I didn’t see results within 5 minutes. (I still have my epi pen just in case.) Usually I can feel symptoms subside within a couple of minutes. Just another option to consider!
That’s so helpful to know about, Rachel! Thank you. 🙂 If I had a reaction like this first one again, I’d have to just go straight to the epipen as it only took about 90 seconds to black out from when I first realized I was reacting (and they told me at the ER that it would probably “be worse” the next time). However, on Tuesday, I had a minor reaction to something else, and it would have been really helpful to know about this then!
How scary, Kimi!
I have heard of this happening. Is it possible that you need to do GAPS for awhile to reduce toxicity?
Hi, Kimi, I’m glad you are alright. What a scary experience! I’m glad you got a epi-pen. I hope you and your family are alright, after being around that mold. That stuff is very harmful. Unfortunately you all are now in a smaller place, but you left before any damage to you all, from the mold. God bless you all as you get settled in, and careful with your back, too.
Hi , i managed to take my husbands medicine accidentally, eastern this year. I did Not even realise it, until he asked where his morning dose was. Unfortunately i am highly allergic to penicillin. And this was after he fell through a glass door and cut his arm that badly that he was rescued bye a helicopter. It was the first day out of Hospital.
And,since this particular antibiotic stays in your system that long, i had to be treated for anaphylactic reaction three times. Enough Drama for one Week …
I just had a similar experience with Salmon. First allergic reaction ever at 40. Then I became reactive to almost everything — food, chemicals, etc. Turns out I have histamine intolerance and mast cell
Issues along with methylation defects (I’m compound heterozygous). I’ve been working on my methylation issues and my reactions have decreased significantly. (Almost all gone) Also I take a supplement that helps my body process histamine (histdao) and a supplement called Aller-C has been helpful. I unlocked a lot of info by getting genetic testing. Chocolate is high histamine so this might be why you reacted. Once your histamine bucket gets full you can eat something you’ve never reacted to and have a reaction but especially is it high histamine. The mold and stress could also be things that were filling your histamine bucket.
Constance Ann Morrison
Allergic to bee and wasp stings and many other things. We’ve found this allergy clinic to be helpful.
My son is severely allergic to peanuts and I know anaphylaxis is such a scary thing. My only piece of advice is, go to the epi pen website and get the co-pay card. Even if you don’t have insurance, it will cover your cost up to $99. Those things are so stinking expensive and I wish someone would’ve told me about it sooner. My son’s first reaction reversed on it’s own, like yours, but the second reaction earned him an overnight hospital stay. I will say the epinephrine made a huge difference during his reaction. My son instantly went from turning blue to pinking back up, so don’t ever hesitate to use the epi pen, it’s an amazing tool.
For what it’s worth, you may be interested in learning more about somatic experiencing, which is a discipline of healing related to a dysregulated nervous system. Peter Levine is one of the most well known voices in the field, but Irenelyon.com is a practitioner that writes about and teaches online courses on the topic.
Given the high levels of stress preceding your reaction, your nervous system could have been primed for a response.
Best wishes moving forward.
So sorry you had to go thru that! 🙁 I would totally suspect mold as a trigger for allergies. Sometimes nuts even harbor mold themselves. Have you read the blog, “It Takes Time”? Andrea has an incredible wealth of info and is a believer, too!!
Oh, Kimi! That is so incredibly scary. For some reason, I’ve had this freakish paranoia of this sort of thing, even though I don’t have a history of anaphalactic allergy to anything, and neither does anyone else in my family. I actually carry around liquid Benadryl “just in case.” I am so very glad that you were okay. I’m assuming you were by yourself with your little girls? Terrifying! Big hugs!
Hi. I don’t read your blog often but stumbled across it again today. I’m sorry about your reaction to pecans and chocolate last week. That’s a bummer. This hits so close to home because my 6yo daughter, who has tested negative to pecan allergy and has eaten pecans before just fine, reacted to them this week. And I reacted to chocolate the next day although I’ve tested negative for chocolate allergy. My daughter is allergic to a bunch of foods. My tests have all been negative. It is bizarre. Keep hope, though, because even while the allergy road is difficult, it is navigable. Just focus on the foods that you can eat, not the ones you can’t. My reactions have increased in the last few years and neither I nor allergists can pinpoint the cause. The person above who talked about histamine intolerance and the full barrel analogy – that’s something I’ve started researching because that picture fits me – it seems like all is well and then one little thing just sends me over the edge into reaction. Good luck. I really hope you can find the cause soon.
Kimi, I am so sorry to hear about your ordeal. I can only imagine how hard that whole mold thing was– and then the reaction on top of everything else. You are in my prayers!
I love reading your blog and and was very sad to hear about your family’s troubles. You are in our prayers over here in Virginia!
A am so very sorry that you went through such a harrowing experience. I would suspect that you have methylation issues. It is a very common genetic mutation, and mold, chocolate and stress will all affect it. Look up the MTHFR mutation online. All three of us in my family have it, and I experienced “floating” allergies that would show up all of a sudden with major hives and a slow anaphylaxis reaction. Benadryl just made it worse for me, but I took the “dye-free” type, which might be different than the regular one. I’ve been pretty much allergy-free for a few years now, after walking around with an epipen for a season of my life. Histamine reactions can also cause a number of other symptoms since there are five different types of histamine receptors.
You’ll want to find the methyl forms of B-12 and folate, and avoid folic acid as much as you can. I couldn’t have a successful pregnancy until I stopped taking pre-natal vitamins. Folic Acid is the artificial form of folate, and for someone with methylation issues, it will actually bind up your folate-dependent biochemical reactions. You might also be helped by vitamin B-6 in the P-5-P form, which is in a downstream biochemical reaction that can also be a problem. I like the Seeking Health brand of vitamins for methylation issues, but you need to find what works for you.
Besides chocolate and mold, you’ll also want to be careful with bacon, strawberries, eggs and tomatoes. You may also have problems with fermented foods, especially meats. Please be aware that I’m not any kind of doctor, I’ve just helped a lot of people who have these types of issues by trying to support their biochemistry.
Kimi, I am so thankful that you are over that trauma. How stressful the entire move and health event sounds. My first thought was about how stressful and sleepless the prelude to your allergic reaction was. Knowing that these things could have even upset the gut flora, as well as weakening the immune system, do you think this could be one factor in the severe reaction happening now, and never in the past? It’s amazing how one thing is connected to another in our bodies. There certainly seems to be a big adrenal/blood sugar/gut/brain/immune system connection which affects a lot of body functions. Anyway, glad you are doing better now.
Be blessed, and be well…