This post is sponsored by who specialise in home allergy testing kits. You can test for 294 allergens with an easy at home test, that makes finding out what you are allergic to simple. I have been paid to write this post, but all experiences of allergy symptoms are entirely my own!

finding out what you are allergic to

I’ve lived with allergies my whole life, bar a short reprieve between my first and second pregnancy. My allergies are not life threatening. And this can often mean they are not taken seriously. But with 1 in 4 people suffering from allergies, isn’t it time they were taken more seriously?

What am I allergic to?

A lot of my allergies cannot be avoided. I am allergic to most varieties of pollen, Summer and Winter! Dust mites are also on the list. I am allergic to feathers (always check the pillows in hotels). I am allergic to cats (hence why our beloved Charlie Cat was hypoallergenic and cost us a small fortune!) And I very recently discovered after trying to treat a bout of insomnia that I am highly allergic to lavender.

One of the most bizarre things I seem to be allergic to is light! It’s not quite as extreme as it sounds, but it is a real thing; photic sneeze reflex to give it it’s correct name! If I sleep in a dark room and there is any source of light such as a chink coming through the curtains, the standby light on a TV, or the glow from a digital clock, it will set me off. I have discovered the best way for me to sleep is with the curtains open.

The big problem with the majority of things that I am allergic to, is that I cannot control them. I can’t look at a list of ingredients and think, no I can’t eat that. I have no way of knowing what pollens are in the air, or what dust mites are lurking around.

What happens when I am exposed to allergens?

My allergic reaction consists of sneezing, watery itchy eyes, and a foggy head. Not life threatening by any means. But it can be pretty debilitating. On a good day I wake up a bit snuffly, sneeze a bit, then gradually over the first few hours of the day my head clears and I am ok. The medication I take daily does it’s job.

On a bad day it doesn’t clear. I sneeze pretty much constantly. It can last anywhere between 24 hours to a week. The medication doesn’t work. The attack completely wipes me out. Sometimes some fresh sea air helps, but it’s not always possible to get that sea air when you have to work.

If I had a pound for every time I was asked “Have you got a cold?” in response to my alergy induced state, I would be living on Necker Island right now.

Finding answers

I’ve often wondered if there is anything hormonal involved in allergies. My Mum suffers too, but it only started when she was pregnant with me. I have always suffered, but they all stopped when I was pregnant with my eldest child, only coming back when I was pregnant with my youngest child.

There also seems to be something heriditary, My mum, me, and my eldest child suffers too.

Sadly it’s not something that any doctor has ever taken seriously. Antihistamines is the only answer I am ever given. When I was a teenager my Mum ended up paying for me to have allergy skin prick tests privately, because if they weren’t life threatening it wasn’t deemed worthy of investigating on the NHS. Without finding out what you are allergic to, how can you know what to avoid?

finding out what you are allergic to

Finding Solutions

Whilst I can’t always control the things I am allergic to, allergy testing is vital in helping. As well as skin prick testing, allergy blood tests can also be used in finding out what you are allergic to. And once you know there are things you can do to help as well as medication.

I always use hypo allergenic pillow covers and mattress covers to help with dust mites. Dusting regularly is essential, and have a special plug that emits a sound (not audible to humans) that kills dust mites. I never hang washing outside to dry, because pollen then becomes trapped on your clothes. And running through a lavender field is not something I will ever do!

There do seem to be more things on the market to help, such as allergy face wipes, wrist bands that are supposed to help relieve your symptoms, dust mite sprays and more. But there doesn’t appear to be a one size fits all solutions. It is very often more of a suck it and see approach to find out what will work for you.

If you are suffering, allergy testing is a great place to start to find out what you are allergic to. Visit for more information.

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Claire Kirby

4 Comments on Finding out what you are allergic to…

  1. I am very lucky that the only thing I react badly to is shellfish and they are pretty easy to avoid. Such a shame that you suffer and haven’t yet got to the bottom of the cause of your allergies

  2. I had a patch test when I was in my late teens, after getting a really bad rash all over my face, but they never found out what it was. All I remember is that I was NOT allergic to any animals, including camels!

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