Until the pandemic came along, who knew how a great many of us suffered from one type or another of allergies?
The most asked question being “Have you been vaccinated?” followed by the second most asked, “What brand?”, it stands to reason that the next question should be, “Are you allergic to drugs or injections?”
Cheryl Cosim, TV 5 news anchor, didn’t know she would develop an allergy to her vaccine until the day after she got her first dose. And how awful it could get. As she recounted her experience to viewers, she had awakened the morning after to a very bad case of rashes on her skin, also known as hives, that covered every square inch of her, including lips, scalp, ears, and swelled her ankles. Many years ago I had the same reaction to a simple cold medicine, not anything as exotic as a vaccine against a vicious virus that has so far claimed 3.74 million lives.
It was the memory of my body’s dreadful allergy to that cheap, pinkish tablet that set me on the path away from any thought of a life-saving vaccination. I was scared, yes, who wouldn’t be? and, like a hypochondriac, I asked every doctor friend in the world for their opinion, professional and personal. Still my fears persisted, until my daughter took matters into her own hands and set up an appointment for me with an allergist in cyberspace. An allergist is a doctor who specializes in allergies. (I’ve heard nondoctors use the word “allergologist” and it doesn’t just sound wrong, it sounds funny.)
Dr. Jose Carlo Miguel Villanueva, Zoomgenic and young enough to pass for a medical student, asked me a series of short questions that were meant to produce short answers. His mission was not to intimidate but to bring out the facts simply and address my fears. Which he did. In 15 minutes. The best part of our conversation went like this: “Among seniors, the chances are low or lower that you will develop an adverse reaction to a vaccine.”
Not all doctors think alike. The doctor who will answer your questions and calm your fears is not a robot, even if the future tends to be moving in that direction.