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Author Topic: food allergies?
gloworm
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i'm hoping someone here can shed some light on a recent situation that occurred, or rather keeps occurring.

about 2 weeks ago, i was visiting my boyfriend (he lives and works about an hour and a half from me). i had gone to bed a few hours before and he came in and woke me up because he had broken out in welts all around his waist (precisely along where his underwear waistband hits). my immediate reaction was to ask him if his mom had done his laundry while he was visiting home that weekend (she usually does) and if she maybe had bought a new brand of detergent. he said that she had indeed washed his clothes but wasn't sure about the detergent.

he put some cortisone on the affected area and i went back to sleep. flash forward to around 6 a.m. He woke me up again because he now had itchy welts on his back, stomach, arms, legs, neck and face. he called his mom (a nurse) and she confirmed that she had switched detergents (but it was a baby detergent, which i thought was odd) and asked him if he had any benadryl, which he did not. we got dressed and ran to the store for some benadryl, he took it, and when he woke up a few hours later, he was fine.

so we initially chalked it up to the detergent. he rewashed all of the clothes his mom had washed for him to be safe. well, a few days later, he called me on his dinner break (he works nights) as usual and said that the welts/rash had returned the night before. i asked him if he could think of any other factor that could cause a break out and he said the only thing that came to mind was peanut butter. he said he'd eaten a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and then had peanut butter and crackers when he came home from work and the welts returned shortly after. he also recalled eating peanut butter the night of the first rash episode.

again, he took the benadryl and was fine upon waking. he avoided peanut butter for the rest of the week and last weekend i went to visit him again. since he had been rash free for several days, on saturday afternoon he tried to eat peanut butter again and lo and behold, about 15 minutes later, the welts appeared. so we were almost certain peanut butter was the problem. (unfortunately, because he loves peanut butter and peanuts!).

but the story doesn't end here.... he has avoided peanut butter since then but the night before last, he told me that he broke out AGAIN, but had not eaten anything with peanuts! so now we are really confused.

now here is my question: what is the likelihood of developing an allergic reaction to a certain food as an adult? i mean, i'm sure it is possible and does happen but my boyfriend never had a problem with peanuts in his life. he DID see an allergist when he was about 5-6 because he had lots of stomach problems with no apparent cause, and the allergist ran the full gamut of tests on him, but peanuts never caused him any trouble.

also, can anyone think of any other factors that may contribute to this sort of reaction? he has switched to a dye and fragrance free detergent to be safe and washed all of his clothes and bedding with that. his apartment is really clean as we thoroughly dusted and changed the air filters recently but i was just wondering what else might cause this that we overlooked.

as of now we have no clue if it's environmental or food related. or either. so we are trying to eliminate any possible triggers to see if that helps before he goes to see the doctor.

anyway.. i appreciate any comments/suggestions! thanks!

[This message has been edited by gloworm (edited 02-17-2005).]


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Bobolink
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I'm not a doctor and I haven't seen the welts but it sure seems like an allergy especially since an antihistamine seems to clear up the welts.

Yes, adults can develop and lose allergies (I am no longer allergic to cats).

Really, this is a physician's call. Your boyfriend should see one and bring with him all the information you have detailed here. Only a proper analysis can diagnose this.

Kudos for you in your efforts to isolate the cause.

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

- Galileo

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 02-18-2005).]


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KittenGoddess
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Member # 1679

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In addition to what Bobo has suggested, you boyfriend should start keeping a food diary. This will help the process along once he gets to the physician. Starting now, he should record everything he eats (including the brand name of the product whenever possible or the location he obtained the product from -- not "cereal" but rather "Kellog's Corn Flakes" AND not "hamburger" but rather "McDonald's Big Mac"). Additionally, write down the names of ALL the products he is using or coming into contact with. Lotions, soaps, fabric softners, cleaners (at home and at work if he does any cleaning or comes into contact with any chemicals there), colognes, the whole deal. Then if he has this reaction again, he should record the date and time of the reaction as well as exactly what happened and what he did to try to combat it. I know this seems like a real hassel, but it can help your boyfriend's doctor correlate his reactions to what was going on in his life. It might also be advantageous for him to note any very high stress periods that he is experiencing.

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Sarah Liz
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gloworm
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bobolink and kittengoddess:

thanks for your suggestions. i will definitely suggest to my boyfriend that he write down the food log and other items you suggested. so far, he has been keeping a "mental log" of things he's been eating right before the reactions occurred but it could be something else that he ate earlier in the day, i suppose.

he has had one other breakout this week and he said that it happened hours after he ate anything he thought to be suspicious. he is home visiting his parents (and me!) this weekend. his mom is a registered nurse so they have discussed this and he is waiting to see if he has a breakout at home to truly narrow it down and eliminate the possibility that it may be some environmental factor specific to his apartment.

if he does experience a break out, his mom will examine him and try to draw some sort of conclusion but he definitely plans to head to the doc asap.

thanks again!

p.s. bobolink- i wish i would lose my allergy to cats! i like them and many of my friends have cats but when i visit them, my eyes get itchy and i start sneezing within a half hour of being there!

[This message has been edited by gloworm (edited 02-19-2005).]


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