Blog ‘Food’: Is yours in your Genes too?

How many of your nearest and dearest are allergic like you?

…Although this is possibly more of a Blog ‘snack’ À la Beans on Toast, rather than a huge helping of Sunday Roast, I’ve wanted to ask this question for a long while…

I’ve always been really close to my Mum. She said my sister and I were as much to her like the sisters she didn’t have, other than being her daughters.

My Mum is a very caring, gentle, emotionally sensitive lady. Hmmm, my 3 ‘nail on the head’ character traits too. My Mum was a teacher, my sister is also a teacher. Hmmm, go figure! My Mum is a wonderful pianist-she loves Chopin-she had the most beautiful soprano voice when she had the time to sing in the church choir-my sister is a talented Bassoon player and also sings in choirs. My Mum, like me, has perfect pitch.

There is a sense  then, of connection amongst the three of us, through our music and teacheriness. But what I haven’t told you straight out, is, my Mother and sister are also highly allergic and atopic.

It’s rare we all get snapped together-but here’s an unaware, unposed effort from last September…

…We’re actually not very alike at all. Except I’ve got Mum’s blonde hair, and Mum has the same Louis Vuitton sunglasses as me!

Mummy has really bad eczema. It has been quite a hindrance to her, her whole life. She is highy allergic to the detergents used in hotel laundries-chlorox, I think-and whilst she needs the sunshine and warmth of SoCal she really suffers with her skin there. In fact she wont go in the sun much now as it gives her prickly heat. She can’t swim in chlorine water or use any products in the bath. She has also suffered her whole life from terrible migraines. (No thanks there, Mum!) My sister used to suffer from the worst sinusitis I have ever known anyone have. The doctors used to stick a needle up her nose and inject her sinuses with steroids in the good old days. Imagine that pain! My sis now, in her adult hood has developed psoriasis on her scalp back and front mainly. And again no specialist seems to be able to ‘cure’ it. I remember as a child she would go bright red in clothes shops as she was highly allergic to the dyes. This happens to me now!

In every first consultation type appointment I have had regarding my asthma, the doctor starts off by asking the following question…”any family history of allergies?” It takes me a whole lot of puff to explain the above little lot.

I also have a brother (currently working in India) born of the same parents as my sister  and I, but a whole generation later. He too has eczema, and chronic sinusitis, oh and he’s a gifted musician with an incredible sense of pitch.

There must be a connection. There must be something in our genes. It seems everything I have ever suffered from, I got from my Mother! And I don’t mean that in any way other than a loving one. But I think with all the incredible science and nature  nowadays, surely they will find a ‘cure’ for us with the dodgy lungs and itchy skin and snotty noses!

But in some ways, even though I am genetically extremely like my Mum…

…I’m a spoilt rotten Daddy’s girl!


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21 Responses to Blog ‘Food’: Is yours in your Genes too?

  1. Natasha says:

    OK totally off topic, what’s it like having perfect pitch? A bonus, or something that drives you up the wall when surrounded by the off-key masses?

    As for the genetics, thing, maybe I should take your blog food for myself… but in the meantime, yep allergies, crappy sinuses all on my mum’s side of the family, though I think I’m the only one with asthma. A cousin on my dad’s side with allergies & asthma, but it comes from the other half of his family.

  2. Yep weird-I’m the only immediate one with asthma too (one of my cousins had bad childhood asthma though)-all the allergy crap is on my mum’s side.

    SO is the the perfect pitch ! It just means I’ve never not got 100% in an aural or harmony exam (very boring I know) and I’ve always got full marks in the aural it of those ABRSM exams too,-but as for the out of tune masses-aaaargh! Sometimes it’s less painful to have my asthma, a migraine and this flamin’ muscle injury all at the same time.

    Laughing at out of tune singing/playing has induced many an asthma attack.

    Serves me right!

    The Lord’ll strike me down!

    Hugs xx

  3. danielle10 says:

    Not me! I’m a loooone wolf! My mom and dad both come from huge broods (6 and 7 kids respectively) and out of those 40-odd people I am the only one with asthma! I have one aunt with a cat allergy and that is it. Crazy eh? My parents and sibs are all healthy and crazy strong, I just can’t figure out what went wrong with me lol. No matter, I do just as well as them in the long run.

    The allergies you and your little fam face are so above and beyond what I have to think about every day, yikes!! Not fun.

    • Very interesting-seeing as you’re the only one, did anything viral or environmental trigger yours off? If you don’t seem to have a defective Family gene it gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

    • danielle10 says:

      I wonder, because it most definitely is NOT genetic! One thing I wonder is that I am the only one in my family who was born in Vancouver (damp damp damp) and apparently my nursery was in a basement! My sibs were both born in Quebec city which is damp but not so prone to mould. As far as I know I didn’t have any major viral illness as a child, the odd bronchitis here and there.

      But I’m one of those ones who seems to have gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, especially after puberty if that counts for anything.

      Le grand mystère de l’asthme!

      • Elisheva says:

        Does that mean that you won’t be passing down any asthma genes to your kids?

      • Natasha says:

        My mum and her family all grew up in Vancouver and other damp parts of BC too! And I grew up in damp Manchester…

        I first started getting sinus headaches when I was at university, studying for my finals. I was working every day in the basement of the library, which had a leak right near my usual desk. The following year it was closed off. I’ve often wondered since then if the damp/possible mould triggered it.

  4. Elisheva says:

    My mom and brothers have asthma as do many of my cousins. In terms of allergies, my dad’s severely allergic to penecillin and so am I. My brothers were spared on that one.

    • So your lot are kind of similar to my lot then. Family dodgy genetics rule (or not!) I’m severely allergic in the anaphylactic sense to all the penicillins too.

      • Elisheva says:

        Yep. I’m also allergic to all the penecillins. My dad stopped breathing from it once. I only had an allergic reaction once – when I was four – and I’ve never had anything penecillin-like since then. Apparently I got covered in hives and spiked a high fever, but I don’t remember this. I guess I blocked it out of my memory. When I was 19 I got an allergy test done to see if I was still allergic – and apparently I am severely allergic – so says the doc. But I’m not sure what that means. I don’t know if I would be anaphalactic or not. Don’t really want to try.

      • I think if you are severely allergic it is best to only assume the worst-they can pretty much tell from our blood tests. So leave well alone! Seeing as your Dad stopped breathing from it once…..!

  5. Becca says:

    Atopicyness runs in my family too. My mum has eczema and mild hayfever and she went through a period of being dairy intollerant, at the same age that I also did. My uncle on my dad’s side has asthma and one of my cousins does too. My sister was very prone to croup even as a preteen and there was some questioning as to whether it was a asthma-type something.

    Ooh I’d love to have perfect pitch! I can’t tube my violin to a piano or violin or anything because I cannot hear the difference- according to these test things we did for fun once in music I should never have been able to pick up an instrument and made a good sound- somehow I’m now grade 7 violin and have never had below 95% in either aural or sightreading. I’m one of those weird ones 😉

    • …you probably wouldn’t want the perfect pitch. My brain has to tell me what note a car horn is, or the telephone, doorbell, alarm siren……Zzzzz It can be most irritating!

      Another Family link then. Also interesting how you have been dairy intolerant. Does that mean you grew out of it? Or do you use rice/oat/sheep milk?

      I seemed to grow out of severe peanut allergy too, after my 20s were up it gradually lessened. I can now eat PB!

  6. Becca says:

    *tune my violin. Not quite sure what tubing would be, but it sounds difficult!

  7. Amy says:

    Oh, the dreaded Allergy March. I live in fear for my younger, so-far asthma-free daughter.

    She had spotty eczema as a baby, seasonal allergies as a toddler and now at age 8, nothing. But considering her past, I’ve really had to train myself not to assume she’ll develop asthma like her older sister and just accept whatever comes.

    As for my asthmatic, her father and I don’t have asthma and neither do any of her grandparents. But autoimmune stuff like psoriasis runs on my side, and allergies run in his. She was a preemie also, so I think she had a perfect storm of risk factors!

    • That’s an interesting cloud about the young Sidekick-but seeing as you are so alert and almost ready for this, hopefully if anything does transpire you’ll snap into anti asthma action!
      Good Luck!

    • kerri says:

      Amy– perfect storm of risk factors . . . sounds like me! The preemie (low birth weight–2 lbs 13.5 oz), c-section, early life antibiotics, O2 . . . And, as it turns out, it now seems I’ve got some family history nobody bothered to inform me of until my grandma got diagnosed with asthma in the fall–her dad had asthma, too.
      However, apparently, no allergies are in my mix–which as you’ve told me, aside from dust mites, Kyra has no allergies either. Someone left a comment on my blog, a preemie herself, and said something that asthma in preemies is somewhat different in some way. What do y’all think of that? (It appears my case has certainly been “different”!

  8. Elisheva says:

    I meant to add before that my dad also has pefect pitch, which I sure don’t, tho I think one of my brothers may have inherited that. My dad found out he had perfect pitch when he was a kid building something in the toolshed with my grandpa. A nail dropped and without thinking my dad said “B-flat” (or whatever it was). My Grandpa then dropped a different size nail to see what my dad would do. “C-sharp” (or whatever it was). My grandpa was very impressed.

    • Oh how cool and how lovely! And yes, I thoroughly relate to it-everythign has a note which my brain just has to tell me about.

      J can never tell, but if we ring somebody up and I say ‘it’s call waiting, hang up’, he asks how I know. Easy-it’s a semi tone higher than the ringing tone!

  9. Sara C. says:

    My mom has asthma, I have asthma, and both my daughters have asthma. Until recently, my asthma was worse than my moms…I have moderate persistent asthma. My mom was recently diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is a more severe diagnosis, but she suffers much less, breathing wise, than I do. My youngest daughter is much more severe, and has much less control than I do, so it seems to be getting worse as the generations pass.

    I’ve seemed to pass all the crud along to my daughters. One has the crappy lungs that have come from my mom, the other has the crappy mental health genes, that also come from my mom, and then me.

    Interesting how genetics play such a role in our lives.

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