Staying Active and in Control Despite Their Allergies
Meet four people with allergies who combine medication, alternative therapies, and the right attitude to maintain control over their lives.
Liz Erk: Runner, Rower, Skater continued...
Meanwhile, Erk's found a new athletic passion. Two years ago, she learned
how to skate and started to play ice hockey. That’s brought back her inner
competitor. "For my level, I'm pretty fast," Erk says. "And it's
all because I have the stamina for it."
Fighting back against the irritants that caused her such grief has altered
Erk's life both mentally and physically. "My life is completely
different," she says. "Tackling my allergens head on made a total
difference for me. I'm in the best shape of my life."
Fred Coe: Keeping Allergies Off the Court
Fred Coe spent part of the fifth grade encased in plastic. Having had asthma
from the time he was very young, Coe developed double pneumonia. It was so
severe that he was placed in an oxygen tent. He didn’t return to school until
his sixth grade class had already begun.
Coe’s list of allergic substances – both indoors and out -- contains all the
typical culprits: dander, dust, pollen, and other airborne allergens.
Sauerkraut is another trigger, but he admits it’s one that isn’t quite as
challenging to avoid.
Despite spending an entire winter of his life without leaving his home, Coe
is now determined to make his allergies an annoyance rather than a crippling
"I've always been real active -- hyperactive, actually," says Coe,
who is now 61 and living in Knoxville, Tenn. But, he says, as a youth growing
up in Chattanooga, without the allergy medications and types of treatment
available now, it was a struggle. Add to the mix of challenges two parents who
each smoked three packs of Lucky Strikes per day and the chances for drawing an
easy breath got slimmer and slimmer.
But Coe, whose desire to be active couldn’t be quelled, has embraced modern
medical perspectives on how to face down his allergies. He says he often wakes
up sneezing. When he does, he immediately takes his over-the-counter allergy
medication. He has an inhaler in case breathing becomes too difficult. For more
than a decade, he received injections each month to combat allergens.