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Adult allergies... unsure of what to say to GP (longish)(8 Posts)
I'm 24 and have had medium reactions (throat swelling, itchiness, numbness for food, runny nose, eyes and sneezing for animals/pollen) for ten years. I've only ever had one serious reaction where I couldn't breathe for a few seconds and couldn't swallow after eating a sugared almond (weird as I eat ground and whole almonds with impunity but have not had a sugared one before or since and admittedly I don't know what was on it before I ate it).
When I moved away to study for a year and went through a registration medical the nurse suggested I have an epipen but I didn't follow it through as I've never been hospitalised and usually self-medicate with anti-hystamine, lots of water and a lie-down.
My reactions have slowly got more frequent and seem to stem from more sources (a new one - since xmas - is raw swede, where my throat will swell up if I'm the other side of the room from someone preparing it ). My reason for posting is that I've just used some lemon & tea tree original source shower gel and my throat swelled up immediately and badly. I've taken a pill and am drinking water but it's uncomfortable, annoying and, given my family's medical history (Mum has several fatal allergies & carries an epipen - a ripe banana put her in resuss twice in one afternoon, sister & dad both have intolerances and sneezy allergies), a bit worrying. We tend to laugh it off and make the best of it as a family but I don't want to end up like my Mum (neither my Dad or my sister have swelling reactions).
I went to see the doctor after the last bad reaction (a month ago) at my registered practice. She was very dismissive (new to the practice, refused to look at mine or my family's history) and the second I said 'I've made a list' and mentioned allergies she dismissed me as a hypochondriac. She refused to give me anything as I live in a different area (recent house move, but I come to my parents' a lot and am hardly ever sick so didn't re-register) and she said tests were an expensive waste of time and I should just 'avoid' things (it was this attitude that led to Mum collapsing last time).
I need to register with a new practice to get treatment and possibly testing but have no idea how to best broach this without getting the door slammed in my face. Outright asking didn't work - does anyone know the best way of going about this please? I don't want to get labelled as a hypochondriac but equally don't want to have a severe reaction that could be avoided. Any suggestions gratefully received!
you need to ask gp for blood tests or to be reffered to a immunologist.
you have had significant reactions, and if your family have such atopic history, its worth mentioning that to a fairly newly qualifed doc. As they are more aware of the link between family history of allergies.
ask for a epi pen, and keep it with you.
if you cant get reffered to a immulogist, ( find a name of nearest one to you, the anaphylaxis campaign helpline will give you guidance), ask your doc for blood tests to food and environmental allergies.
dont give up, its important that you take steps to prevent a reaction , and have the means to help yourself in an emergency.
I know this seems like and extreme course of action, and she did not do this intentionally I must add, but when my friend was having trouble getting the doc to listen about the severity of her sons reactions, it was only after he had a major reaction actually AT the GPs appointment, that things got fast tracked and she was taken seriously!
ashamedandconfused it's very sad that it has to come to that but I can completely understand. It wasn't until my little boy threw up all over the health visitor that she finally realised that it wasn't normal 'possetting' as she'd been trying to tell me for months. RoseC I agree with eragon, get that referral no matter what it takes and it may well be a bit of a battle but don't give up. I also agree about going to A&E next time you have a bad reaction and think you should try to keep an allergy diary detailing all the foods you've eaten that day plus any toiletries you've used and any reactions you've had. This will help once you get to see the specialist.
Thanks both of you, sorry I didn't see your replies sooner
I will try to keep a diary and I'm going to register at the surgery next week. Where I live now is a five minute drive from A&E - my parents live in the middle of nowhere - so the next time I have a severe reaction that might be a good bet if the GP won't refer me, thanks for the idea!
Just an update to say I had an appointment with my new doctor at the new practice this morning and I walked away with two epipens, my own supply of clarityn (no scrounging from my dad and sister!) and a referral to an immunologist. I'm so glad he took me seriously... now I just have to worry about whether I can take an epipen on a plane/into Jordan
Thank you all for your help
Great news! Well done you. Re: epipens on planes, check with your airline but normally you need a copy of your prescription and/or letter from doctor explaining reason for needing epipens.
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