Serious Allergy Issue

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    Jul 27, 2009 4:03 AM GMT
    First of all, let me reassure you that I have been in touch with my doctor about this. I am seeing him tomorrow and will probably see an allergist tomorrow as well.

    But I would be very interested to know if anyone else on here has experienced anything similar and, if so, what happened.

    I have had a severe bee-sting allergy since I was a kid. I was de-sensitized in 1989-90 and was fine in 1997 when I was hiking in Hong Kong and was swarmed by wasps and stung seven times.

    Three years ago I had a life threatening anaphylactic episode brought on by something we have not yet identified (maybe a variety of pine sap), but extensive testing was inconclusive.

    Then two weeks ago I was stung my a wasp and had a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Luckily I had rescue meds and an epi-pen with me and after being taken to a hospital by ambulance, getting nebulized and pumped full of steroids I was fine.

    Four days ago I was stung by something (not a wasp or bee - possibly a horsefly) and had a reaction (hives, itchy eyes and itchy throat, etc), which responded well to oral rescue meds (benadryl, tagamet, prednisone and an asthma inhaler).

    Then today I was driving my car and BAM: my lips swelled up, I broke out in hives, starting wheezing, etc. The rescue meds slowed things enough for me to call an ambulance and, after, another day in the hospital getting nebulized and dosed with steroids, I'm home.

    The doctors are wondering if my immune system has become "hyper-reactive" and intend to look into that and then decide whether I need several weeks of partial immuno suppression. They will also try again to figure out if I have an as yet unidentified allergy. I'm less than thrilled with the idea of partial immuno suppression for a number of reasons, not least are the risk of illness as well as side effects from the meds. I just barely tolerate prednisone.

    I am, to put it mildly, concerned. I know I'm in the hands of excellent doctors, but it' more than a little creepy to see your body turn on itself in quite such a dramatic, unpredictable and dangerous way.
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    Jul 27, 2009 2:16 PM GMT
    I can sympathize. I have several severe food allergies and know how terrifying going into anaphylaxis is. Fortunately I haven't had as ever episode in over a decade, but still keep my rescue medicines on hand.

    The car episode disturbs me. Something had to bring about the reaction. Possibly something you ate. The doctor will probably ask you what you were doing before the incident. You should probably review everything you ate in the hours before the reaction.
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    Jul 27, 2009 5:13 PM GMT

    Thanks, Medford.

    It looks like we have a suspect - not what I ate but where I ate (i.e. under a canopy of pine trees). In all the excitement yesterday and amid all the drugs i was given had forgotten that this was the third time I have had similar episodes in July after exposure to pine.

    Once the testing is out of the way we can think about desensitization. In the meantime, I'm on prednisone to control any hyper-reactivity and have been advised to spend as much time as possible in air conditioned spaces and to have a quick shower after being outside.

    I'm very relieved and hopeful.
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    Jul 27, 2009 5:18 PM GMT
    Glad you were able to narrow it down. Guess that means no more live Xmas trees. Hopefully, its' a seasonal thing with the pollen, and you'll have less trouble when pollination season is over. Still desensitization therapy is better than immuno-suppression therapy.

    Good luck.
  • bchbum

    Posts: 161

    Jul 27, 2009 9:54 PM GMT
    Been having a similar allergy problem. Although, I never went to the doctor of the lips swelling. Can't figure out whats causing it. Same prognosis though, might be hyper-sensitive to something all of a sudden. Allegra and Singulair seem to be doing the trick though.
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    Jul 27, 2009 10:43 PM GMT
    flieslikeabeagle saidThe doctors are wondering if my immune system has become "hyper-reactive" and intend to look into that...

    Increased sensitivity and more severe subsequent reactions are a known development in allergic reactions, so I'm surprised your doctors are "wondering" about it, if that's what you literally mean. I would think a conservative treatment approach would be assuming just that.

    You are rather unlucky with insects, aren't you? Bees stings don't bother me, but wasps give me a very severe and dangerous reaction. Yet despite my many years of Army outdoor field work, and private camping to the present, I've only been stung about 4 or 5 times in my life, and I've got about 14 years on you, too. What ARE you doing? LOL!
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    Jul 27, 2009 11:00 PM GMT
    I had a weird reaction to insect bites a while back. I think I was bit by three ants (not sure if they were fire ants), and it caused my arm (sight of bites) to swell up and feel hot to the touch. I had to get steroid medication to alleviate the swelling.