17 March 2011

My First Trip to the Allergist

Today I went to see an allergist for the first time.

This trip was prompted because of a horrific allergic reaction I had last summer. I'll show the pic at the end of this post so those of you who would rather not see it can just read the post and skip the pic.

First, the rest of the background: I had moderate-level asthma and I've always been highly allergic to bugs. If it crawls, I'm allergic to it. The worst I remember is one time one of the dogs we had when I was a kid got fleas and I got flea-bitten. My entire body was covered in hives. I had to wake my mom up every couple of hours so she cover my body in Benadryl spray. We had to wash everything piece of clothing, linen, etc., in my room, vacuum every surface, and the dogs weren't allowed in my room for a week. Miserableness.

So when this incident happened this past summer, which was the worst allergic reaction I've EVER had, I knew that I had either developed a new allergy or my allergies were getting worse. It started as what looked like a bunch of small bites, so I did what I always do - popped an Allegra and applied Benadryl cream. But it got worse over the course of a few hours. It grew into a giant hive that covered about 6" x 8" of my underarm, it felt warm to the touch and it was raised. Yum. I avoided the ER (because it was the weekend) by applying lots of ice. I went to urgent care first thing Monday morning, and got a Medrol pack. And we agreed that I should see an allergist.

Fast forward to today.

The allergist I saw told me that few people are actually truly allergic to bugs; they usually just have a more sensitive inflammatory reaction to them. Okay, fair enough. They did the needle pricks on my back where they put the serum under the first layer of your skin, and they leave it 15 minutes to see what reacts. Because your back is most sensitive, they test there first. If anything is negative, they then test those serums on your arm, but under more layers of skin.

So while I was on my stomach and the medical assistant was sticking my back 41 times, the doctor comes in to introduce herself and go over everything with me (until now, the MA had gone over my history). The only thing I tested allergic to was house flies. So I got to do 40 sticks in my arm, but since my arms are small, she had to split them up - 20 on each side. Yay!

This is when the doctor repeated that I probably wasn't really allergic to the bugs, but that since I DID have a history of being very sensitive to them, she wanted me to be more aggressive about treating bites. However, by the time we were done talking, the arm sticks were ready to be read, and boy - had I reacted to a BUNCH. She said it's rare that people will react to the second sticks when they're negative to the first ones - yay me! (I thought about including pics of my arms, but I figured no one wanted to see pictures of my bloody arms. Although my buddy at TJ's was impressed.)

So, it turns out that I'm allergic to: dust, dust mites, mice, black ants, fleas, house flies, moths, and mosquitoes.

And I'm being sent for blood tests to check for mango and eggplant allergies since I get the "tickly tongue" feeling when I eat those.

Since the Allegra that I normally take went over-the-counter last week and is now hella expensive, she gave me a prescription for a new antihistamine to use that is less expensive and will work just as well or better. She also gave me a prescription cream to use that is stronger than the Benadryl cream. And she gave me some prednisone to have on hand in case I ever get a severe reaction like last summer so I won't have to be miserable.

Speaking of that reaction, here's that picture. Remember, if you don't want to see it, navigate away now!

I mean it!


Last chance!


  1. So the 81 needles weren't like allergy shots that help prevent allergies??? gah!

  2. Yikes! That looks so painful. :( And all the needles sound painful.
    Allergies are a bitch. I hope they can find something that will make them less severe.