Picture of the downtown city of Portland, Oregon with caption Welcome to Portland!

Moving and Managing My Allergy

The excitement and stress of moving to a new city permeates my daily life. Identifying the location my apartment, the local grocery store and post office takes time. Likewise, moving to a new city disrupted my routine of how I managed my eczema and nickel food allergy. My unfamiliarity to both the city’s climate and restaurant scene has led to me experiencing increased eczema flare ups.

Accustom to living in the dry and arid climate of Salt Lake City, I knew how to take care of my skin. My skin would revolt and scream “itch me” if I forgot to use lotion daily. Whereas the humidity of Portland, Oregon has led to me questioning whether or not I still needed to use lotion.

The utility of lotion for eczema in any climate persists, just as the need to ask questions about what I eat. Previously, I had my favorite restaurants and dishes. I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t eat. Understanding the ingredients in my food is the only way for me to know if I am eating anything with nickel. When I am on vacation, I am more consciously aware of the need to stay informed about what I eat at restaurants. Unlike being on vacation for a week, living in a new city has required that I diligently ask servers what’s in my food. Many menus don’t note all the ingredients and I have received my order with sesame seeds, lettuce or other foods with high concentrations of nickel that I shouldn’t consume.

I never anticipated how moving to a new city would create new challenges for how I manage my food allergy.