Thanks to Gavin Sherriff from The Weekly News for allowing me to reproduce the interview he did with me on my blog.
Patting a dog could put me in hospital
A MEAL out with family and friends is an everyday pleasure for most of us but for Elaine Livingstone, it’s fraught with difficulties. She’s one of the vast number of people in the
who suffer from allergies. UK
The allergic reaction Elaine gets from eating certain foods or having contact with some animals could leave her gasping for breath. Not surprisingly, she’s taken the decision to stick to food she has prepared herself. “People don’t understand,” she said. “If you go to a burger restaurant, you’ll see staff wipe 20 tables with one cloth.
“For people like me, traces of what’s spread from one table to another is enough to cause problems.”
“If we go away, we go self-catering — we can’t go anywhere that provides food for you. “We wouldn’t entertain going abroad because the holiday nsurance would be cripplingly expensive.
“I spend a lot of time looking at labels, and I tend to know what I can and can’t tolerate, so I eat a lot of the same stuff week in week out.”
Although asthmatic as a youngster, Elaine’s problems became serious after she became a mum.
She recalled: “I was 27, and we’d just bought two kittens for our children. “I ended up in hospital with a major asthmatic reaction.” “I don’t remember the first three days, it was that bad.”
Tests showed that Elaine, from Ayrshire. had developed a severe allergy to cats and, before she could be sent home, the cats had to go. “They had to be returned, much to my son’s disgust,” revealed Elaine.
“They were his third birthday present, and his reaction was to tell his dad, ‘Let’s get rid of Mummy and keep the cats’!
“It was heartbreaking to do it, but they wouldn’t allow me back out of the hospital while they were still home.”
Elaine, who’s now 52, also become allergic to dogs.
“One of my daughters has a dog, and I can’t go and sit in her house,” she said.
“Even just being close to a dog is enough.” Elaine says a close encounter with a Pekinese in particular would be enough to put her in hospital.
“If I were to go to the vet and they’d had Pekinese dogs in two or three days beforehand, my face would puff up and I’d be struggling to breathe,” Elaine said “I can’t risk patting a dog. “All it takes is a hair to be transferred from your hand to your face and you can end up struggling to breathe.”
“I carry medication and take them if I have a problem. “If I’m not any betterin 15 minutes, then I call 999.”
It’s not just animals that can cause problems for Elaine. “There are a lot of foodstuffs I can’t touch, including dairy produce, bananas, kiwis and oranges,” she said.
“I can’t eat peas if they are raw as, apparently, there are chemicals in them which are cooked out.
“Every year or so, I find more things that I can’t eat because, forwhatever reason, mybody has decided it doesn’t like them any more.” Although Elaine is used to it now, she says the ignorance of others can be frustrating.
“A lot of people think its just a fad, that you fancy being allergic, or you’ve made it up or exaggerated it,” she explained.
“There’s a huge void in catering places that, with proper procedures, people like me could go out to eat.”
Allergy Awareness Week runs from November 12-18. For more
information see www.allergyuk.org or call 01322 619898.
You can see the picture that went with it here as I used it for my 366 last week.