Experiencing an allergic reaction on the plane–
I like new experiences when I travel, but I’ve never quite meant this.
On a flight from Hawaii to the mainland, I started feeling a little strange. It felt almost like there was a buzzing at the back of my throat.
Suddenly, I realized I had to throw up even though I wasn’t nauseous at all. I jumped up to get to the bathroom and the woman in the first row hopped up in front of me and went into the bathroom.
Not knowing what else to do, I casually leaned over, grabbed the air sick bag out of another passenger’s seat back pocket, stepped by the plane door, and did my business.
I’m pretty sure (given how calm I was) the flight attendant assumed I was pregnant.
She helpfully poured me a ginger ale while I was in the lav and bought me some bland food to my seat.
Soon, I started feeling some tightness in my throat. I felt like I couldn’t quite breathe in all the way, but I was still breathing. And my skin suddenly felt on-fire hot.
I tried breathing more slowly, but as I sat, it felt harder and harder to breathe. Eventually, I could hear breaths catching in the back of my throat.
should shouldn’t do, I took my medical advice from an episode of House I vaguely remembered.
If it were anaphylaxis, it would have happened pretty quickly. Or at least so I remembered from TV.
I figured if I got really bad, I could run into the aisle waving my arms wildly and hope there’s a doctor on board. I was afraid if I mentioned something was wrong, it would needlessly cause a flight emergency too.
When I landed, I sought medical attention.
What Happened After
I was grounded until they could figure out what happened. Sometimes, you’ll have a less serious reaction the first time and have a life-threatening allergic reaction the next time.
I was planning on taking some international trips in the next two weeks, but doctor advised I cancel, let my reaction go down (I was completely swollen with hives at this point), and then get tested for allergies.
Unfortunately, these were paid trips and not award trips, but that’s a small price to pay to make sure you don’t collapse while over the ocean.
So I popped anti-histamines until I looked like my usual self again, waited for everything to get out of my system and got tested.
Out of all the exotic things I could have had in Hawaii, I ended up being allergic to apples. (Along with basically every tree and flower on earth).
I can’t remember the last time I had apples. I never really liked them because whenever I bit one, it seemed so acidic, it left a burning feeling in my throat.
But I’m not epi-pen allergic to apples. I can get a tightening of the air passages, skin reactions, and the like, but it won’t happen so fast or so severely that I would need immediately medical attention.
My doctor believes that after being around so many flowers, the apple was the last straw for my body.
Now I travel with a copious supply of anti-histamines in my bag, as well as a rescue inhaler. The inhaler helped so much when I was recovering from the initial allergic reaction.
But apples? Seriously? Apples?!
So I probably didn’t need to cancel my travel because it wasn’t that severe. But it also wouldn’t have been fun traveling while recovering.
But a small confession. I did take a trip to Florida while all this was going on as a “replacement” trip. I figured it was short enough and I didn’t eat before either of my flights. And I survived.
Have you ever had a scary experience in-flight or leaned about a medical issue while traveling?