Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Unique Flare Essentials For Mast Cell Disease

Flushed skin, a swollen throat, and aching bones are indicative of the dreaded f word. We've all been there. One trigger sparks a cascade of cyclical reactions. It is a Mast Cell Disease flare.

Medications are a basic essential to overcome a flare. Enough Benadryl to sedate an elephant, along with an arsenal of other drugs, are imperative for symptom relief. There are many essentials out of the realm of medications that are just as fundamental though!

  • Allergy Pillow
A comfy bed is undoubtedly the ideal place to be when in a flare, but did you know that bedding can contribute to the allergy burden? An allergy pillow is important. They are designed to prevent the materials from trapping particles and allergens.

I use Sleep For Success by Dr. Maas purchased online through Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is worth the investment. As an added bonus, it comes with a thermo-regulating cover that is soothing to a Mast Cell Disease patient's flushed, irritated skin.
  • Ice Pack with Cover
"Is it hot in here, or is it just me?" is probably my most frequently asked question, aside from maybe "Where is the Benadryl?" when very reactive. The burning pain is relentless. An ice pack attempts to soothe the sensation of burning from the inside out, while also reducing swelling.

Temperature changes are infamous for causing reactions and an ice pack limits reactions to overheating. However, placing an ice pack directly on the skin can result in reactions to the cold! A well made cover prevents that. 

  • Filtered Mask(s)
This is a must! The flaring of Mast Cell Disease equates to increasing sensitivity to airborne triggers, like the chemicals in perfumes, colognes, soaps, cleaning products, and oils, as well as food. Masks keep the triggers to a minimum.

Traditional medical masks are composed of irritating materials that are difficult to breathe through if worn for extended periods of time. Vogmask is a brand that manufactures quality masks in cute patterns with and without filters.

My favorite is the N99C2V with 2 carbon filter valves, as it does not become stuffy and it is organic. The styles with 1 carbon filter are only slightly less capable at filtering as the double. The no filter styles are still superior to a regular medical masks commonly offered at hospitals.

    • Kindle / Tablet 
    Books are effective at distracting from painful reactions. They give the mind a focus. I am a book worm. To much distress, I found that I react to paper books when flaring. The manufacturing of paper requires chemicals that are not conducive to sensitive Mast Cell Disease patients. Thankfully, there is a way to avoid contact with chemical laden paper - a Kindle or another tablet!

    For books, the Kindle Paperwhite is less than $100.00 on Amazon. 

    The Kindle Fire is also an option. It is not ideal for hours of reading because it adds to vision problems, but it is better suited for other needs requiring internet access. In comparison to a laptop, the tablets are more portable to accomodate severe "can't lift your head off of the pillow" flares. 

    Downloadable apps are an awesome distraction too. 

    1. Words With Friends
    2. Word Streak With Friends
    3. Dots: A Game About Connecting
    4. Colorfy: Coloring Book for Adults Free
    5.  Cooking Fever

    • Staedtler Markers (Non-Scented) 
    Did I mention distraction? Low-key tasks that create a diversion from the pain is so so so beneficial.  Crafts and coloring are not my thing. Contrarily, my closest friends find adult coloring to be therapeutic. Markers tend to have a strong chemical scent to them that exacerbates symptoms. Staedtler markers are scent free and are perfect for crafting the tedious, reactive hours away.

    • EpiPen Case
    EpiPens save lives. Mast Cell Disease patients are prone to frequent anaphylactic reactions, which is why an EpiPen should be within arm's reach!

    Read The How's, Why's, and When's To Using An Epi Pen.

    An EpiPen case solves the predicament of partaking in a scavenger hunt to locate the EpiPen and it  maintains the proper temperature conditions necessary for the medication.

    Living with Mast Cell Disease is challenging. Every facet of life causes reactions when in a perpetually flared-up state. Retreating into a controlled environment until it passes is isolating, but the above essentials make it a little easier.

    What are your flare essentials???

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