October 10, 2012

Day 10: Do You Have Food Allergies?

Around the same time I developed POTS, I also developed SEVERE food allergies.  Over the past few years, I have spent lots of time in my allergist's office.  He's AMAZING.  Seriously, the best doctor I've ever been under the care of.  He knows what he's talking about, listens to what I share with him, researched POTS while I was IN THE OFFICE just to see how he could help, etc... I've also spent time in hospitals, and one ambulance thanks to my food allergies. My bff Allison over at A. WHITNEY even ran several red lights and had an old lady give her the finger just to race me to the hospital.

It's just the way it goes with food allergies.  But combine food allergies with POTS and we have quite the food scenario.  My POTS makes it difficult for me to eat large meals and lots of sweets and pretty much impossible for me to drink alcohol.  On the nights where I decide to have a few sips of wine, or my favorite---a mango mojito, I feel it in the morning.  It's like drinking half a drink and waking up feeling like you drank the whole bottle.

And going out to eat is an entirely different struggle.  One that I've actually lost friends over...apparently life threatening food allergies are choices we make so we get to choose where we eat...  But I've found a safe way to eat out...whenever possible I look at the menu ahead of time and I always carry my chef card.

The chef card is the perfect thing to share with your waiter or waitress as soon as you sit down at the table.  They can pass it along to the manager, kitchen manager, chef, etc.  And you can also share it with your family and friends to help you stay safe!

I found mine a few years ago online at the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network website and their template can be found here.

Here is what my card looks like:

The key is to keep it clear and be direct when ordering.  I usually print my cards out on colored card stock, or print them on white paper and color the edges hot pink!  Always keep at least 5 in your wallet because you don't always remember to get them back from your waiter or waitress at the end of the meal.

I also always carry my epi-pen and zyrtec with me.  Two things of importance to note here for people with POTS.

1. If part of your POTS treatment plan involves taking a beta blocker, you need to be careful with your epi-pens.  My allergist says they counter-act one another.  Not totally sure about the chemistry of all of this...but the epi speeds the heart rate up and the beta blocker slows it down (that's the jist).  So, make sure you carry TWO epi-pens with you.

2. After perusing the POTS facebook groups, it appears that I am not the only one that cannot take benadryl.  It exacerbates the POTS symptoms.  Try taking zyrtec instead.  That's the switch I made and I haven't had any problems with it!

I'm always interested in learning what things people are allergic to...are you allergic to anything?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient. 


  1. I am seriously stuck on the fact that you are allergic to garlic!! Fortunately, you know that you are allergic to it and can avoid it at all costs!!

    An allergy card is such a great idea!

    1. I know! I wish I wasn't. I miss eating all sorts of yummy things!! :)


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