The 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge was created by @cfs_zombie.  I learned about it when someone reblogged it onto my Tumblr dashboard.  Each day, there is a new writing prompt that focuses on chronic illness.

Day 21: What networks or websites have you used for support or information about your illness?

This will probably be the most useful blog I’ve written for the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge. I think the best way to write about this topic is to link to each website I use, and then explain what it helps me with.

* Pollen.com
It has a color coded map of the United States that shows how high or low the pollen count is (everywhere). You can also have it show you the pollen levels for your area. It brings up a color coded bar graph and points out which pollens are predominant today.

* Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) from Celiac.com.
It has an extensive list of all of the ingredients that are safe to eat for people who have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or a gluten allergy. The list is frequently updated. The most recent update (at the time I wrote this blog) was on August 29, 2013.

* Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) from Celiac.com.
This is a huge list of foods and/or ingredients that are not safe for people who have celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, or a gluten allergy, to eat. The list is frequently updated. The most recent update (at the time I wrote this blog) was on August 29, 2013.

* Wikipedia
I use Wikipedia to find out what Family a food is in. This helps me to avoid an accidental cross-reaction. In short, if I have an allergic reaction to a particular plant, I may also react to other plants in the same Family.

For example, when I started having an allergic reaction to lettuce (yes, really) I used Wikipedia to find out what else was related to it. It turned out that lettuce is in the Asteracaea family – which also includes chrysanthemums, dandelions, and ragweed. I’m very allergic to all three of those things! In short, my body cannot tell the difference between those plants anymore.

I also use Wikipedia to find out the food Family of other foods, just to make sure they aren’t related to something I’m allergic to.

* The Weather Channel
Click around, and you can find an “Aches & Pains Forecast” that shows an Aches & Pains index and the current percentage of humidity for your area.

Right now, it tells me that today is “high risk for those sensitive to weather-induced pain”. This tells me that I will probably experience pain in my joints today. (Good thing I just so happen to have an acupuncture appointment).

* Air Quality Index
First, take a minute to look over the color coded chart on the front page. Green means “good”. Orange means “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. Anything beyond that is bad for everyone!

Next, put your zip code into the search engine at the top of the page. This will bring up the current air quality where you life. This resource helps me figure out if it is safe for me to go outside, or if doing so will mess up my allergies and/or result in an asthma attack.

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