A man looks sullen and is flaring on his arms while an inhaler, dairy, peanut butter, fish, and an epipen float around his head.

The Trifecta

Are you one of the many people with "The Trifecta"? The terrible three: asthma, eczema, and allergies. I am one of those people. I have had all three my entire life. I grew up taking asthma medication, pills & puffers, and having difficulty breathing on most days. I grew up with terrible eczema all over my body, many sleepless nights with cracks and red patchy skin. I grew up with food and environmental allergies, specifically milk, eggs, nuts, fish, tomatoes, and sesame seeds.

When you grow older you start to grow out of some of these things.

Asthma, eczema, and allergies

My asthma is under control now and has been for 20 plus years. I only have to take salbutamol once in a while. One of those puffers will last me a year; so I'm not reliant on it at all. My breathing is much better than when I was young.

My eczema has been good and bad my whole life, the last five years seem to have been horrible with red skin syndrome. But in the last six months, I've seemed to have it under control. I still get red patches here and there, but I have it under control doing wet wraps.

My allergies I have to always be careful with. I have grown out of some food allergies, at the age of 16 I was able to start having dairy products. Finally! I was able to eat ice cream and have pizza! But I knew that I would not grow out of my nuts and fish allergies. Those are not going away and I will always have to be on guard when eating out.

An allergic reaction

On Sunday, I had an allergic reaction to nuts, my kids and I went to a café for lunch. My kids had a ham & cheese toastie and I decided to have a chicken sandwich. We waited a long time as the café was busy. 

After eating half of the sandwich, I started to feel it in my mouth, the strange tingling and I knew there was something wrong. Something was in it that I was not aware of at the time. I went to the staff and asked what was in it, they explained the bread and then someone came from the kitchen and said it has cashew pesto on it. What I did not notice was the tiny sign with the description of the sandwich saying that it had a cashew pesto on it. 

A trip to the hospital

I could not believe it. I had two EpiPens in my car along with antihistamines. I took an antihistamine and drove my kids back to their mom’s and I went home. At home, I used my EpiPen on myself and waited a while to see how bad the reaction will be. After throwing up I knew I had to get to the hospital. The hospital rushed me into the emergency room and it was full of people to help take care of me. I was given an IV line and many different medications to help calm the reaction. They got me under control and monitored me for 6 hours, at 11 pm they asked how I was feeling and I was feeling better. They said I could go home, but wanted to see if I could keep food down, so they gave me two crackers and apple juice. 

My breathing and skin followed suit

I instantly had a gut ache. I was in the same pain again and it felt worse. I felt like I had to throw up again. I was on the ground in pain and I started to have difficulty breathing. I had the blood oxygen monitor on me and I could see my oxygen levels dropping and my pulse rising. I told the nurse something not right and she raised the alarm, within a minute, there was medical staff surrounding me and looking after me. I had to have another shot of adrenaline and take the puffer for six rounds to get my breathing back under control. I had to spend the night which I was more than happy to do so, I knew that I was in good care if I had any further issues. I was released in the morning. My skin was in bad shape from the reaction, red all over, and a bad rash where the blood pressure monitor was on my arm.

Learning from the incident

I am happy to have survived the incident. The last incident I had was on a 14 hour Virgin flight from Sydney to Los Angeles last July where I was fed salmon in a garden salad (but that is a whole other story).

I have learned from this incident. I know that I always have to be on guard even if it is a simple meal when eating out, the kitchen might try to be fancy and add something in that I am allergic to. I have also learned that I should immediately go to the hospital so I can be monitored from the beginning of the reaction. I always have two EpiPens around me along with antihistamines.

"The Trifecta" is a challenge to live with, always be on guard, and always be prepared.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.