‘Allergies anyone? How I manage late-onset medicinal and food reactions’

Aug 04, 2021
Julie writes about the allergies she's acquired in her 60s and how she's managing them. Source: Getty Images

Allergies anyone? I have loads. Eight years ago, I was diagnosed by my trusted GP as having an autoimmune disorder. To me, this explained my allergic reactions to antibiotics, penicillin, anti-inflammatories, most medications, and even Panadol. I am allergic to a lot of foods I used to enjoy, and have somehow developed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), to compound my lighter side of chronic fatigue.

Was this ageing well in Australia? It was a bit of a mystery.

I read a great book co-written by former AFL player, Alastair Lynch, titled Taking Nothing for Granted: A Sportsman’s Fight Against Chronic Fatigue. This was a tale of his discovery. I am, of course, much older than he was. But I set off to seek drug-free therapies to manage my own health. This means acupuncture, a chiropractor, massage, and wheat bags. I kept consulting my GGP, but asked more questions about side effects and the results of combining medicines. I guess with any health condition, we have to make informed decisions.

With food allergies, ageing or not, I still had to turn around my food choices. These days, I cook daily and eat mostly plant-based foods with light steamed protein. I plan my exercise regime, gentle seated qi gong and Tai chi; very relaxing, focusing on deep breathing. Others might go golfing, cycling, swimming, jogging or bushwalking. Good for them. We must all keep breathing, it is, well, essential. Fresh air and sunshine are free. Exercise buddies are free, and only a smile away.

All of us can take advantage of preventative medicine, for ageing well in Australia. The Medicare scheme enables me to have an annual blood test, an annual skin cancer check, a biannual mammogram, a routine eye health check, while a male could have a prostate examination. At my age, I have to set realistic goals, like most 60-somethings.

All of us are bridging the gaps between young people and geriatrics. We all wish to live independently as long as possible. We have a lot to offer. I still dabble in assisting young people from overseas with their English, and participate in community groups. That is, barring lockdowns. At my craft group, I learned new crafts and hobbies. At my writer’s group, I was encouraged to write in different genres.

In comparison, my older sister started her own cycling group for seniors and attends her own hobby activities. We all do what we enjoy. Might as well, we are all only here for a short while, in the big picture of the universe. Anyone over-60 can adapt their golden years to what they like doing.

Looking at our ageing years, I wonder what is going to happen when the Boomers hit the residential aged care industry. It is very expensive for the government and any individual. Boomergeddon! The young ones will have to look after us. Maybe they will invent robots to do our bedpans and take our blood pressure! Consider that.

Yes, I have a lot of allergies. Anyone at any age can develop a chronic or acute health condition. Take nothing for granted. I shall continue to hope for a recovery, and continue to practise my form of ageing well in Australian society.

Do you have any allergies? When did you find out?

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