Dust mites, grass and tree pollen, ragweed, dogs, cats, horses
I am an American actor based in London. I currently live with severe asthma, food allergy, contact dermatitis, cross pollen food syndrome and gluten intolerance. I was diagnosed with allergies and asthma at the age of four. I am allergic to dust mites, grass and tree pollen, ragweed, dogs, cats, horses, and more.
When I was a child, my siblings used to call me ”The Bubble Child.” I was allergic to almost everything – except cows. I found my freedom to pet cows ironic and funny. Who knew I could pet a cow and not a dog without an allergic reaction?!
I have chosen not to allow allergies or asthma to hold me back from obtaining goals. As a child and teenager, I performed gymnastics and ballet several days a week. I grew in developing my own understanding to ensure safety of my lungs. I learned how to stretch my body physically and build physical endurance.
I always had an emergency inhaler with me – I take an inhaler on the dance floor to the side of the stage, where I have quick access in case of an emergency during a performance. Growing up, my mother informed my teachers, dance instructors and gymnastic coaches about the severity of my asthma attacks. Each of my life-threatening allergic reactions were crucial in helping me understand ‘when’ and ‘how’ to ask for help. Even as a little girl, I knew the value of air.
My allergic symptoms are directly affected by outdoor air quality. I have definitely noticed a link between outdoor air pollution on busy high streets and high-traffic areas as a direct trigger for my allergies. I have also noticed that environmental air pollution seems to cause exacerbations of my eczema and atopic dermatitis symptoms.
I feel it is important for us to work together to commit to change which ensures better life quality. We can boost awareness together, by partnering up to combat air pollution and ensure clean air within our cities. I feel honoured to support Allergy UK in our fight to breathe fresh air.
Our family’s story with allergies began when we started to wean our son. He would have unexplained reactions to foods, it was such as struggle to get an allergy referral from the doctors. Finally we discovered what allergies he head and managed to start to control them, this reduced his eczema.
Flash forward two years later to when we had our daughter, it was obvious to us quite quickly that she too had allergies. She spent most of her time screaming, was in a lot of pain and had awful eczema.
As a family we were sleep deprived, pushed to our limits and struggling to understand and control her allergies. We have had to educate ourselves pretty quickly about allergies: how to control, reduce, deal with reactions and all that comes with them. Along the way, as a family, we got healthier and I lost over 3 stone. Just over a year ago, I developed a love for running.
Our son currently has 5 allergies and our daughter has 9 allergies.
I am anaphylactic to peanuts and fish which means that if I eat either of them I could die. Allergy UK run a great service that informs its members of food that has been labelled incorrectly to ensure that people like me don’t eat the wrong thing.
In April a well-known brand incorrectly packaged up some sweets that contained peanuts. My mum received an alert informing her about the potentially deadly contamination and let me know. The very next day my Grandpa unwittingly purchased the product for us to share. I remembered the alert and we looked up the batch number, and it was indeed part of the contaminated batch. Allergy UK saved my life.
*Testimonials from Allergy UK www.allergyuk.org