Ignored by health system, woman seeks advice on allergies


I recently moved down south from Nunavut and I’m having a hard time adjusting to the environment. Not because it’s hot and humid, but because I suffer from allergies to fragrances and pollution.

Since I was 12, I’ve had allergic reactions to strong fragrances but have never found help from health experts.

I’ve explained my symptoms to nurses and doctors again, and again, but everytime I’ve been ignored. They always say it’s “anxiety” that causes my symptoms, which are a runny nose, very quickly followed by very strong heartbeats that I can feel throughout my chest and throat. At my worst reactions you can hear my heart beat when I speak.

These reactions are triggered when I smell hygeine, cleaning, cosmetic, and aerosol products. Zest, Lever 2000, and all other aerosol-based products trigger my reactions instantly.

I recently saw a doctor here in Montreal and had a cardioscopy but the diagnosis was still the same as it’s always been, anxiety. I keep explaining over and over again about my reactions and what triggers them but no one has ever had the expertise or patience to deal with my problem.

My immediate family has become accustomed to my allergy and have had to change hygene products to avoid my reactions. Some people I know totally dismiss my allergies as anxiety and tell me to just deal with it, which makes it even harder to live with.

After seeing a doctor here and having a cardioscopy with no success of a “scientific” diagnosis, I feel I am left with nothing but to plead to the public for some advice.

If there is anyone who has this sort of allergy, or similar to it, I would really like to hear from you and get some advice if you have any.

My symptoms are a runny nose, very quickly followed by my heart beating so hard I can see it on my chest and feel it in in my throat. The triggers are perfumes, (usually cheap ones), and aerosol-type products such as hairspray and odour products like Febreez, Zest, Lever 2000, and almost all shampoos.

Going to a cool or cold place usually eases or stops these reactions, but with great effort.

Please, if there is anyone out there with my symptoms and triggers I would like to know. I feel really alone on this because for 19 years now I’ve been ignored by health experts, ridiculed by friends and dismissed by family. It’s allergy season down south and I can’t go out, which will eventually lead me going back home because I have no life other than work.

Please, if there is anyone, whether a lay person or a health expert, write to me at krista_uttak@hotmail.com. Give me some advice or a resource. Thanks for your consideration.

Krista Uttak

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