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Author Topic: Hi - new here  (Read 1615 times)

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Offline allergyadventure

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Hi - new here
« on: April 13, 2014, 11:20:29 PM »
I've been browsing through the forums the past few days and thought I would introduce myself and my allergy adventure.  :)

I've had allergies of various sorts my entire life. I've had a food allergy to potato since I was an infant. I've never eaten potato aside from accidental exposures. I have severe reactions from very minute amounts, whether it's raw, cooked, or processed. Even my allergist seemed surprised that I react to things like potato chips that are highly processed (apparently most potato allergies are to raw only). For the longest time I didn't carry an epipen because I didn't realize how dangerous allergic reactions could be (I didn't actually see an allergist and get a proper skin test to confirm until I was an adult). But I'm visually impaired, and in 2008 I nearly ate a slice of potato (thankfully a friend yelled at me before it got to my mouth), and that scared me enough that I went to my GP and got an epipen. Last year I accidentally took a small bite off the edge of a potato chip thinking it was a tortilla chip, and I really should have used the epipen for the resulting reaction but didn't. Won't make that mistake again - it's one of the few times in my life I was seriously scared I might die.

I've had asthma since I was a kid. As a teenager I had severe cold urticaria and - again - had some very severe reactions, including passing out after trying to swim outdoors, but had no idea how dangerous they were. My GP at the time just told me to take Benadryl before swimming, and never suggested a referral to an allergist. Thankfully, I outgrew that allergy in my early 20s. I'd say that one is even worse than a food allergy.

In my mid-20s I developed seasonal and environmental allergies. Over the years (I'm 32) they got gradually worse until I was pretty much constantly having allergy symptoms even when taking loads of medication. Around the same time I developed the allergies I also had an incident at work where food got stuck in my throat (I could breathe fine) and they would have called 911 except I kept telling them not to. I had similar incidents about once or twice a year, and a few times almost went to emergency but never actually ended up going (I should have ... I have a real issue with not getting medical assistance when required!). About six months ago I realized that it was  hard to swallow at pretty much every meal, and that I was scared to eat when there was no water nearby because I used water to help force food down. So I got a referral to a gastroenterologist who did a scope and took biopsies, and I was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis early this year.

I saw an allergist about a week and a half ago who was MUCH better than the guy I saw years ago. He immediately recognized that I have "global" allergy issue, even though I was just referred for food allergy testing. My lungs and nose were extremely inflamed, basically my entire body was just in a state of constant reaction to everything. So he prescribed a daily nasal spray and inhaler. He instructed me to avoid milk, eggs, wheat, and peanuts based on slightly positive skin prick tests. He also ordered blood tests for IgE antibodies. The skin tests also showed I'm allergic to trees, all grasses, dust mites, tobacco, cats, dogs, and horses. Thankfully, I don't own any pets, but I'm trying to get the other allergies under control (I'd already made some changes like dust mite covers years ago, but am trying to get more aggressive).

I have been avoiding these foods for a week now. For the first few days I had no improvement in symptoms at all, but in the past couple of days things have begun to improve markedly. I used to be itchy basically ALL the time and break out in rashes and random patches of hives, and that hasn't happened in a week. My stomach used to hurt constantly, which also hasn't happened in nearly a week. My mom saw me today for the first time in a week and said my face looks better; my face used to constantly be breaking out in rashes (probably eczema, although I've never been officially diagnosed), and I hadn't even realized it but for the first time in a long time it's really cleared up. I am still having eosinophilic esophagitis symptoms - heartburn and pain/trouble swallowing - but they, too, are better (particularly the heartburn, much improved).

In addition to all these allergies, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to banana. I basically don't eat it or foods containing banana like banana bread or smoothies because it makes my mouth and throat feel like they do when I get exposed to potato, even though the reaction never goes beyond that (never had any hives, etc.). I've also largely avoided milk for years because whenever I drank it my throat and lungs would get horribly irritated - filled with mucus, coughing, wheezing, sometimes my voice would change, and an hour or two later my stomach would get horribly upset. Again, never any hives, but I was suspicious that I had an allergy. I still ate cheese and Greek yogurt, but they, too, made my mouth and throat feel irritated and weird.

I got the results of the IgE blood test back the other day. Out of the eight things he tested, seven of them are positive. Eggs were the lowest, and five things (peanuts, wheat, soy, shellfish, sesame) were all in a similar range (negative is <0.35 and those all ranged from 0.97 - 1.30). Milk, however, was 4.75 which is miles above the others. I'm not sure how high this is in the scheme of things since I've never had these blood tests done before, but I think it may mean I have an actual allergy and should be careful.

I see the allergist again in about three weeks. I think I am still reacting to one or two foods, as there are times during the day that my symptoms flare and then fade. So I'm not sure if the allergist will ask me to avoid more foods. Other options discussed if I'm still having symptoms were steroids or esophageal dilation, both of  which I've had before and would rather avoid. But I feel like I'm definitely on the right track to getting my allergies under control. I'm a bit nervous at the prospect of eating out - my allergist said to be strict, but I'm nervous a restaurant would look at me like I'm crazy if I tell them I can't eat about six foods. I'm also not sure how I'd be clear between the different severity levels of my allergies. At the moment I'm just packing all my own food, which works out okay since I've also had Type 1 diabetes since childhood, so eating out isn't the best, though it was a nice option to have at times. I'm heading to two conferences in the next month, and am preparing to basically take all my own food. The fact that I'm feeling better than I have in a long time and feel like I am finally connected with a doctor who can help me get my entire scope of allergy issues under control is very strong motivation.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 11:31:49 PM by allergyadventure »
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline GoingNuts

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 06:02:52 AM »
Welcome AllergyAdventure!

Wow, it sounds like you've been through a lot, but may finally be on the right track.

I don't know a lot about eosinophilic esophogitis, but if I remember correctly someone here on the boards does, so hopefully they will weigh in.

It seems like for the time being at least, packing your own food seems like the way to go - even though clearly losing the option of eating out occasionally is hard.  Certainly until you and your allergist can fine-tune things further you'll feel much better if you aren't risking constant X-contamination.

Good luck on your allergy journey.
"Speak out against the madness" - David Crosby
N.E. US

Offline CMdeux

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 07:47:41 PM »
The mention of banana makes me ask-- any chance that you have issues with latex?

That one is pretty highly cross-reactive.  Ordinarily I have no trouble with bananas, even fairly ripe ones, but I've had a couple of reactions to them when my 'allergy cup' was particularly full from something else.  I have a latex allergy, and that seems to be the only cross-reactivity that I've experienced, but kiwi is another possible offender for some people.

Glad that you have a helpful doc!!  That makes a world of difference.   :yes:

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 08:50:48 AM »
Hi GoingNuts and CMdeux, thanks for the welcome.

I don't think I have a problem with latex, at least not that I've noticed. I haven't brought the banana issue up with my allergist yet, but I'll see if I can work it in to our next appointment.

My doctor definitely seems to know his stuff. With this new diet I seem to be having eczema (or something!) on my face, which I've never had much of in the past, so hopefully he can help me figure that one out, too!
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline Janelle205

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 10:42:04 PM »
Bananas can also be cross-reactive with ragweed, so that could be your issue as well.  I have issues with bananas when my allergy cup is full, and I have luckily avoided latex allergy so far.
Allergic to soy, egg, tomato, apple, cherry, peach, pear, nectarine, canteloupe, watermelon, severe OAS to others, insect bites (severe to horseflies), various drugs, way too many environmental allergens, and asthma.

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 08:20:01 PM »
I live on the west coast and, as far as I know, there is no ragweed here. Wouldn't be surprised if I'm allergic to it anyway. :p
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline CMdeux

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2014, 10:04:36 PM »
Yeah-- nope, not ragweed then.  If this is current, though-- could be grass or a combination of grass/tree/weed pollen, depending upon where you are.

There are hotspots for tree and grass pollen because of localization of massive agriculture here. 
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 08:43:38 AM »
Now grass I am definitely allergic to. All grasses, cats, and horses were the worse reactions on the skin prick test. The allergist even commented on them because they began to visibly react within seconds, while he was still sitting there pricking my other arm. So if bananas are connected to grass, then that would make a lot of sense.

I'm also pretty sure I'm allergic to some tress. Previous allergy tests have been positive for alder, cottenwood, and weeds, and in early spring I definitely have really bad allergy symptoms. For some reason they did not show up much on the skin tests this time around, so the allergist said I'm not allergic to trees except alder (which is the only one that showed a reaction). Not sure how entirely accurate those tests are, though. Some of my reactions did not react in the office but reacted a day or two later.
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline CMdeux

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 10:22:52 AM »
Ooo-- delayed like that is concerning, too-- and may mean that something more complicated is going on.  Does your allergist know about that?


Birch (filbert), alder, cottonwood, maple, olive, willow, etc. etc.-- there is a large variety of trees to consider out west-- some varieties are highly localized, so for example, in the San Joaquin Valley, olive and willow might be major tree pollen offenders, but further north, it could be birch/filbert, alder and cottonwood, or even maple in a major metro area.

So any "tree panel" out west means considering what comprises the bulk of LOCAL pollen sources. 
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 05:44:24 PM »
I haven't told my allergist about the delayed reactions yet. I'm seeing him in two weeks so I will mention it to him then. I also want to get his opinion on the positive allergy blood tests, since I'm still experiencing EoE symptoms. I've only seen this doctor once, but he did describe me as "a very allergic person" which I figure is pretty accurate. I'm hoping he's up to helping me figure out all these allergy issues!
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2014, 09:29:31 AM »
So I have a question about this whole latex allergy thing.

Is it possible to have a latex allergy and not know it?

If you have a latex allergy, is it possible to have problems with foods sometimes but not others?

Last night I ate at my parents' and had some avocado-date-chocolate (dairy free) pudding that my mom made. My tongue burned for 15 minutes or so after eating it, and after that my tongue felt sore and my throat felt like it had a lump in it. I took some Benadryl and this morning I'm fine. I've had this same reaction twice before to that pudding, but was in denial because at other times I've had (much smaller amounts) of avocado and been fine. Is it possible to have a reaction with large amounts but not smaller amounts?

Since I was a kid my mouth has also become really tingly after eating kiwi. I don't know if this is an allergic reaction, though, because it never goes beyond that and my throat never feels weird.

I'm beginning to really wonder about this whole latex thing. Or else maybe I'm allergic to dates, since I never have dates anywhere other than that pudding.
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline rebekahc

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 10:19:59 AM »
Your list sounds very suspicious for latex.  I wonder if ongoing environmental exposure to latex is contributing to your food allergies - keeping your allergy cup full so you react to stuff you wouldn't otherwise be reacting to?

TX - USA
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.

Offline allergyadventure

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 11:09:23 AM »
I do really wonder about that. But I don't seem to have any noticeable reaction when I touch latex items (no itching, etc.). On the other hand, I have allergy symptoms of one type or another on a daily basis, so hard to tell sometimes what's causing them.

Is there a skin test for latex allergy?
Allergic to potato, tomato, banana, black pepper (unconfirmed)
Eosinophilic esophagitis to dairy, wheat, eggs, soy
Environmental & seasonal & contact allergies
Atopic dermatitis, asthma, cold urticaria (outgrown)

Offline rebekahc

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Re: Hi - new here
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 02:31:45 PM »
I've heard of the doctors just pricking the back with a latex glove between the skin and tool - I don't know if there's a serum for it or not.   I've often heard that if you react to banana, avocado and/or kiwi they just assume you're latex allergic.   I don't handle a latex often, but my most reactive things are powdered latex such as balloons and latex gloves.  For example, if my kids bring a balloon into the car, my face itches, my eyelids swell and I'll have asthma.  I don't often have major reactions to latex when I'm just out and about - occasionally mystery hives, etc. but that could be from any number of my food and environmental allergens.  Also, there are different types of latex allergy.  One is caused by having a lot of latex exposure and generally involves contact dermatitis, but it does not have the food cross-reactivity associated with it.
TX - USA
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.