Looking Out for Number One: ME!
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Nobody cares about my body as much as I do. I learned this first-hand many years ago after several physicians prescribed medications that contained ingredients that I was allergic to. Yes, they were listed on my chart. Doctors aren’t infallible and don’t always take the time to cross-check allergies, especially ones that aren’t common. In addition to allergies, many of us also have additional chronic conditions that make treating us more difficult.

Speak up

Whenever a physician prescribes a medication, I ask them to cross-check my allergy list with the drug’s ingredients while I am in the office. But I don’t stop there. I also request that the pharmacist cross-check as well and ask to see the list of ingredients myself. I know this seems a bit much, but it has saved me from having a severe reaction more often than not. My healthcare provider uses a computerized system that is supposed to catch these things, yet it too has failed. Along with my medication related allergies I also have many allergies and sensitivities to other things like latex, sutures, and metal. While this may seem tedious, my care has improved because I am not being rushed to the ER or have to return to the doctor to come up with a plan B. If the physician treating your PsA isn’t the same that treats your other conditions, don’t be afraid to ask them to consult with your other physicians or do so yourself before beginning a new treatment.

How to protect yourself in an emergency situation

One of my biggest fears is being admitted into the ER while unconscious. Who would tell the medical staff about my allergies or sensitivities?  While not perfect, I do have a plan in place to hopefully avoid any future mishaps. I carry a list of all my known allergies and sensitivities. I list all known drugs that I have had a reaction to plus all other allergies. Because I have a rare blood type, I include that on the top of my list. After my allergies and sensitivities, I list all my current medications/treatments both pharmaceutical and natural, all of my health conditions, and past surgeries. However a list is useless if no one knows about it. To remedy this I have informed my husband, children, and friends of this list and where it can be found in my purse in case of an emergency. I suggest having at least one person in your life that is willing to become familiar with your list. My husband has memorized my list which has been helpful when I have not been able to communicate with the hospital staff. I am in no way insinuating that our healthcare professionals are incompetent, instead I recognize how overwhelming it can be to see so many patients with so many different ailments. Does my plan guarantee that a mistake won’t be made? No, but it helps!

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