Well, an allergy alert for me anyway.  Until about 2 years ago I had escaped being susceptible to allergies of pretty much any kind.  Then I began to get hayfever-y type symptoms in the summer, and when I stayed with my parents.  No, I’m not allergic to my parents, thank goodness!  I just seemed to get sniffly when sleeping at their house, and eventually figured out it was because their cats sometimes slept on the bed that we slept in when we visited and a change of sheets didn’t seem to eradicate the problem.  We took our own pillows, and that, combined with a ‘cat on bed’ ban when we were there seems to have solved that problem. 

But the allergic-type symptoms have continued to become a more routine part of life, and I have often gotten wheezy and struggled to breathe, along with vigorous sneezing and madly watering and itching eyes.  The symptoms have seemingly started quite randomly.  I was given an inhaler to help get rid of the wheezing once and that has helped, but the inhaler wasn’t meant to become a routine part of life.

A few months back we were at the home of some of our dearest friends, spending a blissful Sunday afternoon eating, chatting, chilling, and just enjoying the mingling of our two little families.  As the afternoon progressed I noticed that my chest was feeling a bit tight, and I began to get very slightly wheezy.  Not enough to bother anyone else with, but enough for me to feel a bit uncomfortable.  Nothing was unusual about the afternoon, we’d eaten lovely food (but nothing I’d never had before), drunk a glass of wine or two over the course of a few hours, and basked in the atmospheric light of lots of pretty candles.  I wondered to myself if the scented candles were the source of the wheezy feeling, but didn’t bother much about it as I realised that we’d be heading home to get our daughter ready for bed shortly and thought that would be that.

However, as we headed out into the chilly night to our car and headed home, within a matter of about 10 minutes I was wheezing so badly that I had to gasp to my husband to take me to see a doctor – right then.  We dropped our daughter back at our friends’ home and by then I was so bad I couldn’t get a proper breath.  To cut a long story short, my husband called an ambulance, I was taken to hospital, and recovered rapidly – I just got seen by an out-of-hours doctor who said it did sound like an allergic reaction (surprise!) and gave me an inhaler to take on the way home. 

Since then I’ve begun to think about what is going on when I begin to get the symptoms, and then last Saturday conducted a private experiment when we were out for dinner with friends.  I had a small glass of red wine, which I’ve avoided having as I had begun to wonder if that could be a trigger.  Sure enough by the end of the evening my chest was tight and my breathing was beginning to get uncomfortable.  I was fine once I took my inhaler, then did a google search to find out if this was a likely allergy…and it would seem, anecdotally, it is quite common.

I’m gutted.  I genuinely felt that the day I began to appreciate red wine was the day I became an adult, with adult tastes!  I don’t really drink, other than a glass of wine sometimes, usually to accompany a meal, so it seems a bit unfair my ‘adult’ tastes have been lopped in half.  No more red wine for me. 

I also felt I had reached maturity when I began to like – even love – olives.  It’s funny the things that make us feel grown-up isn’t it?