My level of sensitivity seems to know no bounds. Here are more issues I’ve recently discovered that I had (or have) to correct to prevent exposures. Hopefully very few of you have to deal with issues to this level.
I take vitamins and supplements everyday, which I detailed in another post. I also take 50 mcg of levothyroxine each day. I would wipe down the bottles with disposable wipes so I could open the bottles and pour out a pill into my hand. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I started developing symptoms that improved when I started pouring the pills into a pill container instead and then washing my hands before handling the pills. All I can figure is that the wipes didn’t effectively remove trace gluten from the bottles when I wiped them down, or gluten got onto them some other way. Other pills that I take outside of my supplements, I just pour the dosage into the inside of the cap and then pour the pill(s) into my mouth. That way I can avoid touching the pills when I might have gluten residue on my hands.
I’ve recently started noticing more problems with touching my face while I’m eating, or with food coming into contact with my skin while I’m eating. Throughout the day, as my hands touch doorknobs and other surfaces with gluten on them and as my hands touch my face, for example to rub an itchy area or to cradle my chin while I’m thinking about something, gluten ends up on my face. There are times, while eating, my hands go to my face, many times without me thinking about it or even being aware of it, to rub or scratch something. Then, I’ll pick up something with my hands to eat it. Also, I’ve had times when I’m eating something, like popcorn, that I eat by the handful, and sometimes part of the food will touch my chin before going into my mouth. I believe I’ve had symptoms from things like this. This particular exposure source is going to be a hard one to manage, as I’m going to have to think about and be aware of actions that I had never even given a thought to before. I’ve already started washing the area of my face around my chin and mouth before eating to make sure no gluten exists there while I’m eating. That so far has seemed to help.
Recently, I had increasing symptoms develop over a period of a few days. I felt okay in the beginning but could tell that something wasn’t quite right, that something was off. I finally started feeling noticeably worse and realized I was reacting to gluten from somewhere. I then started to think about what could have caused the symptoms. I even wondered if it might be something else entirely. It seemed like, with the timing of how my symptoms developed, that something I was doing in the evening or night might be causing them. I wondered if I might still be mishandling my vitamins, so I wiped down the spot where I keep my pill containers and pill splitter and also washed the pill containers and splitter with soap and water. I still took my vitamins that night, but I felt fine. I had a 240-calorie bottle of coke with supper, so I
decided not to have any hot chocolate that night and just get under a blanket to stay warm while I watched TV. I still continued to feel fine and thought back over the last several days when I’d had hot chocolate. I like to make hot chocolate by mixing cocoa powder and sugar with hot water. I’ve been doing that since I went dairy-free about three years ago. Even when I went back to dairy, I still stuck with this hot chocolate. In the past, I’ve contaminated either or both the sugar and cocoa powder while making the hot chocolate, but I honestly have no idea how it could have happened this time. I thought I’d figured out how to be careful doing it. I continued feeling fine throughout the night and into the next morning, so that served to convince me that it must have been the hot chocolate. I basically decided just to go back to the hot chocolate packets for making hot chocolate and just keep my cocoa powder and sugar for baking or for things where they’re at less risk of being contaminated. All I can think is that I must have gotten careless with handling the spoon I used to serve out the sugar and cocoa powder. It must have happened without me ever knowing or recognizing it. That’s a scary thing.
I made a dessert last Sunday, cookie bars, and I had plenty left over. To help work through the leftovers, I’d been packing some to take in my lunchbox to work. Tuesday evening, when I reached inside the container to grab a couple to pack, I noticed the sleeve of my sweater brushing up against some of the other cookie bars. I was a little fearful for a moment, because I often use my forearm to turn the faucet on and off to avoid touching it with my hands. I
shrugged off the worry and continued packing my lunch. I ate one of the cookie bars before I left for work the next day and had others at lunch and dinner. I had dizziness and vertigo for most of the day. I didn’t feel right the next day either after eating more of the cookie bars and wondered if I could have truly contaminated my container of cookie bars. There were only two left in that container, so I gave those away and opened another container and started eating the bars out of that one. I’ve been fine since.
Hopefully detailing these additional exposure issues may help you track down issues that you’re having as well, although I hope no one has to deal with trace gluten exposures to this extent. It really makes the gluten-free life seem difficult, if not impossible, to survive at times.
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