Allergies

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Claireysmurf
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Allergies

Postby Claireysmurf » 24 Jul 2012, 9:50pm

I had a bad allergic reaction a week ago saturday (whilst walking rather than cycling) that needed an A&E trip, two lots of anti-histamines, steroid cream and anti-biotics. Yesterday was the first time in about 10 days back on a bike and it was ok but a bit slow. I went out today and took a short cut and found myself walking the bike through undergrowth (which is what I think caused my problem before). I took some anti-histamines when I got in as my palate and eyes were itching as well as where I had brushed the undergrowth and my mind did work overtime...just a little bit.
I hope and assume that the bad reaction was a one off but wonder what precautions I should take in future. I didn't suffer any signs of anaphylactic shock but my arm blistered in several places and was very swollen and I had 4 days where I was really sedated by the anti-histamines.
I do get some hay-fever, am asthmatic, have a mild nickel allergy, and a very mild touch of eczema so the GP was probably right when he says that I am 'quite an allergic person'
The GP didn't think there was any point in any allergy tests.

Any suggestions?

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531colin
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Re: Allergies

Postby 531colin » 24 Jul 2012, 11:09pm

Claire, you have had a really bad time.
If that had been me, I would be doing everything I could to make sure it didn't happen again.
In the original incident, did you get any symptoms other than a blistered and swollen arm? That must have been caused by contact with something.
I'm not at all sure that a reaction like that can just be a "one off"....I would be finding out what caused it so I could avoid it in the future.
Were you walking alone or with anybody? Anybody else get a problem?
Only your arm affected? Was your arm the only exposed skin, or were you walking in shorts?
Do you remember exactly where you walked, any unusual vegetation?
You might remember if you found some of this stuff, its taller than you are, and well known for causing skin blisters..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracleum_mantegazzianum
Googling plant allergy etc. brings up all sorts of people trying to sell you snake oil, but there must be an authoritative UK database somewhere?
Edit....re. "allergic person" google "atopy"

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Claireysmurf
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Re: Allergies

Postby Claireysmurf » 24 Jul 2012, 11:32pm

I had an insect bite that reacted on my elbow about 10 days before which was slow healing and the first i knew was a lot of itching, about 3 hours after getting back from my walk. The itching was mainly on my arm but also my back, temples and some other places. But....um :oops: it was first night staying over with a 'friend' and I did wonder if I was a bit warm, a little anxious etc. Next day I went for a long dog walk before breakfast and itching was less than overnight but I did feel dizzy and disorientated at one point. I met friends for lunch and as I took my hoodie off my arm was a bit of a shock and was rapidly getting worse it seemed. I was using ice on it to calm it down and as soon as i finished my lunch i went to A&E.
I have asked my walking companion about the appearance of the undergrowth - a mostly dried up river bed.

The pic was taken in A&E and it got worse after that
Image

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Re: Allergies

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2012, 7:37am

Yellow often means some sort of infection. I would expect an allergic reaction to plant contact or bug bites to have clear liquid in the blisters.

I don't have particular medical knowledge on this topic, but I have skin allergies, and these sorts of things are common in my family. My cousin had some yellow blisters and a fever once. My aunt (who is a GP) thought that blisters had formed because of an allergic reaction, and then that the blisters had acquired some sort of bacterial infection. She gave him antibiotics for it.

I think that fits with your time line (10 days after the insect bite) and insect bites are more prone to that sort of thing. Also, if it were purely an allergic reaction, they wouldn't have prescribed antibiotics.

So, in summary, it's not likely to occur again. However, if it does happen again, don't let your GP fob you off. Get a referral to an allergist and figure out what causes at least one of the components of your problem. It could be that if it's an insect bite, you could get a prescription for a topical antibiotic (these are sold without prescription in many countries) and apply it yourself to bites to prevent the infection. Or it could be that taking antihistimine immediately for the allergic reaction (as you did the other day) will prevent the secondary infection.

I wish you luck with it, in any case.
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531colin
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Re: Allergies

Postby 531colin » 25 Jul 2012, 9:29pm

Ouch! that is a sore arm!

This is rather complicated. Let me get the facts right?
First an insect bite, 10 days later an allergic reaction, the allergic reaction following a walk.
A blister, much too big to have been un-noticed for 10 days, at the exact site of the bite, or just the same general area?

I think the blister is part of the allergic reaction; if its in a different place to the bite then the allergic reaction is completely separate event to the bite..

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Claireysmurf
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Re: Allergies

Postby Claireysmurf » 25 Jul 2012, 10:18pm

The blister and swelling appeared the day after the walk; the insect bite was itchy for a few days. They are individual occurrences but the same arm.

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531colin
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Re: Allergies

Postby 531colin » 25 Jul 2012, 10:32pm

OK....if it was me, I would be keen to find out what caused the allergic reaction....how else will you avoid it in future?

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Claireysmurf
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Re: Allergies

Postby Claireysmurf » 25 Jul 2012, 10:37pm

531colin wrote:OK....if it was me, I would be keen to find out what caused the allergic reaction....how else will you avoid it in future?

My thoughts exactly. I think I need to nag my GP as he said there were no tests available that would narrow it down enough. A friend who is more used to the German healthcare system said that was tosh.
When I posted here I did wonder if people would just suggest I wore long sleeves!

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Re: Allergies

Postby 531colin » 27 Jul 2012, 7:58am

Claireysmurf wrote:.................... I think I need to nag my GP as he said there were no tests available that would narrow it down enough. ..............


I suspect he may be right, and that you will need to do the narrowing down. There are plants in the English countryside (and probably insects too) which are known to cause irritation to your skin, and you have probably encountered one. Its pretty unlikely that you are the only person to react to whatever it was that set you off.
Do some googling to find a helpful website that doesn't include poison ivy, which is an American weed, see what irritants occur where, then re-visit your walk and see if you can find a suspect or two....on a cool day, wearing long sleeves and long trousers.

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Re: Allergies

Postby byegad » 27 Jul 2012, 8:19am

A friend of mine had a lymphatic oedema which he described to me and your picture fits his description. Definitely needs further investigation IMHO
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Re: Allergies

Postby alpgirl » 27 Jul 2012, 9:19am

I think I need to nag my GP as he said there were no tests available that would narrow it down enough.


This is probably true, as they need some idea of what to specifically test for. You can't just have a blanket test which tells you what you're allergic to. You will need to narrow it down to specific possibilities.

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Re: Allergies

Postby al_yrpal » 27 Jul 2012, 10:07am

There is a well known scratch test where your arm is lightly scratched in about 20 places and pollen is introduced. The swollen scratches identify what you are allergic to. Demand one of those. I had a similar reaction to yours 6 years ago. It was from a plant on my allotment. Over a fortnight my leg started to swell and the swelling kept on going until my foot swelled too. They took a blood test and found nothing. It did identify me as a type 2 diabetic.

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Re: Allergies

Postby Vorpal » 27 Jul 2012, 10:23am

I underwent years of skin allergy tests, including some really uncomfortable experiences. The worst was when I had to lie on my stomach for a couple of hours while someone injected potential allergens under my skin and waited to see if I reacted to them. They used two histimines to see if the test was administered correctly, and they itched like nothing else I've every experienced; where I couldn't scratch, even if I'd been allowed. Unfortunately, they never found anything I was allergic to. I also kept a journal for a while, writing down where I went, what I ate, etc. And neither I nor the allergist could find any patterns that could help us figure out what caused my problems. They eventually went away on their own. I now figure it was something to do with the place I was living.
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Re: Allergies

Postby The Mechanic » 27 Jul 2012, 10:43am

Correct me if I am wrong but did you say that the swelling and blister appeared the next day after the walk. If that is the case, I suspect the walk is a red herring. If you were allergic to something you touched on the walk I would have expected the react to start sooner than that. It looks suspiciously like a chemical burn to me. Could be anything such as washing powder your friend uses. If it was hot the previous night then you would presumable have been sweating a bit (sorry, I know women don't sweat, they gently glow) in bed and if the sheets had been washed with something you did not take to, that could be the cause.
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531colin
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Re: Allergies

Postby 531colin » 27 Jul 2012, 12:40pm

Would a reaction to washing powder be restricted to one arm?