Peanuts and Itching

20 replies [Last post]
By Damaeus on Sat, 10-21-06, 13:41

For the past two nights, I've been awakened in the middle of an otherwise restful sleep by severe itching on my face. This hasn't happened in quite some time, and I just realized that I had not eaten peanuts in quite some time. Yet the last two nights, I've packed down about 80% of a 12oz can of Planters Cocktail Peanuts.

I know that tracing down food allergies can take a while, and this face itching (and itching in general) has been something that's been causing problems for years, and it's gotten worse in the last few years, to the point where I get an "itch, scratch, itch worse, scratch harder, cause hives, itch furiously, claw like a madman, sigh in defeat" cycle that drives me absolutely nuts, and never having thought about one of my favorite snack foods as a possible cause, I've had peanuts as a regular part of my life since I learned to put peanuts in my Coke as a boy.

I'm now seeking to avoid all contact with peanuts and peanut residue I'm aware of to see if it helps, but I'm wondering if such a long and virtually constant exposure to peanuts might have built up so much in my system that it might take a long time to clear it all out to see any relief that may come.

I don't have the severe reactions that some report, like swelling of the throat, so if I do have some sort of allergy, it's very mild compared to that, yet if this is the cause, it does result in a non-deadly, yet almost equally unpleasant suffering of its own kind.

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By Adele on Sat, 10-21-06, 14:06

Hi Damaeus,
I also ate peanut products before developing a peanut allergy. The onset was gradual so I didn't make the connection between peanuts and the reactions I was having.

The reactions got worse - until finally I had an anaphylactic reaction, which is how I was finally diagnosed. I never had breathing problems or throat swelling either but anaphylaxis can kill in other ways. You may be just one can of peanuts away from a severe reaction.

May I suggest that you go to an allergist and have at least a skin prick test done. If it is positive, then you are peanut allergic, and there are no 'levels' of peanut allergy. Any peanut allergy is serious.

Good luck. Keep us posted!

[This message has been edited by Adele (edited October 21, 2006).]

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By McCobbre on Sat, 10-21-06, 14:25

Or you may want a blood test (CAP RAST or an ImmunoCAP). It's one less exposure.

SPTs can have false positives.

In any case, you do want to go to an allergist and if you are allergic carry an EpiPen at all times. Peanut can hide in many places. You'll want to avoid certain activities and types of restaurants. For instance, eating at an ice cream parlor will be very risky. We were told to avoid thme altogether. We were told not to go to Asian restaurants because of cross contamination (although you'll see in the restaurant board that there's a popular chain restaurant that will cook your meal without any risk of xcontam).

Do some searching around. You've come to the right place, though, for great info.

Good luck!

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By krasota on Sat, 10-21-06, 16:36

SPTs can also have false negatives!

A good allergist will consider all testing avenues (SPT, intradermal, RAST, food diary, challenge/observation, etc). Most allergists seem to prefer to stick to blood tests when dealing with a possible peanut allergy.

ygg

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By Jimmy's mom on Sat, 10-21-06, 19:39

You very clearly describe eczema. It could be caused by food allergy, environmental allergy, or somthing else altogether (sometimes the cause is unknown). But if you feel that peanuts are a possible cause, definitely avoid them for now. And go see an allergist. Only an allergist can determine what the cause is (if it can be determined). Once the allergist has done the tests, he/she will let you know what to avoid.
Also, in the meantime (sometimes it takes a while to get in for that first appointment), you can try Aquaphor, or Vanicream for over the counter products, or see your general practitioner for a prescription if those products don't help.

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By cathlina on Sat, 10-21-06, 22:04

Since you had the itching at night...wash your sheets and pillowcases in very hot water & get a new pillow.

If it is peanuts, you probably have residue on your bedding.,

Also, change toothbrushes and get a new tube of tooth paste.

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By joeybeth on Sat, 10-21-06, 22:43

i have found that painkillers cause a similar reaction for me - intense facial itching (so bad that it pretty much defeats the purpose of taking a pain medication in the first place.....i trade pain for discomfort of another sort. haha). anyhow, just wanted to mention that i have this reaction if i have to take certain kinds of pain meds. fortunately, i don't have to take pain meds very often (i have migraines and take pain meds if i'm out of regular migraine meds at times). could this be the cause of your facial itching??

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By Damaeus on Sun, 10-22-06, 04:17

Thanks for all the responses. I'll consolidate all responses to the thread so far into one message.

[b]Jimmy's mom posted:[/b]
Quote:[i]You very clearly describe eczema. It could be caused by food allergy, environmental allergy, or somthing else altogether (sometimes the cause is unknown). But if you feel that peanuts are a possible cause, definitely avoid them for now. And go see an allergist. Only an allergist can determine what the cause is (if it can be determined). Once the allergist has done the tests, he/she will let you know what to avoid.[/i]

Someone told me that what I have on three of my fingers is eczema. It's a condition that tends to come and go, though flare-ups seem to always be caused if I somehow agitate the area, either by accident or by rubbing it purposefully. The small area over the smallest knuckle of my middle finger and between the middle and last knuckle of my pinky are quite annoying, while the one on my "ring finger" (which has no ring, by the way) is very mild. But agitation to these areas will cause puffiness and weeping, and as it dries out, cracking and seepage of small amounts of blood. Not bad enough to really call it bleeding, but enough to see that a little has seeped out and was quickly sealed up again by platelets in the blood.

Apart from that, I remember having a general itching problem for as long as I can remember, which interferes with meditation, I might add. Very difficult to slip into that whispy mode of consciousness when I have the frequent need to scratch something.

[b]joeybeth posted:[/b]
Quote:[i]I have found that painkillers cause a similar reaction for me - intense facial itching (so bad that it pretty much defeats the purpose of taking a pain medication in the first place.....i trade pain for discomfort of another sort. Haha). Anyhow, just wanted to mention that i have this reaction if i have to take certain kinds of pain meds. Fortunately, i don't have to take pain meds very often (i have migraines and take pain meds if i'm out of regular migraine meds at times). Could this be the cause of your facial itching??[/i]

I don't take any medications, whether prescription or OTC, on a regular basis. In fact, I don't even have a doctor as many people do. Well, I do in a way, but he's 130 miles away. He just happens to be the last doctor I saw when I came down with strep throat about five years ago, and some nasty bug about ten years before that. Other than that, I haven't had the need for any doctors. I rarely get sick, and when I do, I just let it run its course unless it's unusually bad.

As for the facial itching, I haven't found any triggers. If it's the peanuts doing it, then it's taking several hours for it to hit, and I would think that a food allergy would cause a quicker reaction. It could be something else besides peanuts.

[This message has been edited by Damaeus (edited October 22, 2006).]

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By cathlina on Sun, 10-22-06, 04:26

You may be having a delayed reaction.

I have had this after a bee sting.

Also, took an antibiotic at 4 p.m. Was fine at 10 p.m. Slept fine through the night but woke up with a big headache and sore throat. Couldn't keep down water so checked throat and my airway was only the size of a pencil.

Now...that is a delayed reaction!

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By Adele on Sun, 10-22-06, 14:07

Damaeus,
When peanuts first started to bother me, it would happen about 4 hours, or more, after I ate them. (Another reason why it took so long for me to make the connection.)

The worse the allergy got (because I continued to eat peanuts) the harder and faster the reaction happened. The last reaction I had started in 2-3 minutes.

People with food allergies such as peanut, almost always come from a family that has asthma and eczema. Many of the PA kids also have eczema.

You really need to see an allergist. See if you can find one that knows something about PA. I found mine here when I asked for a recommendation on the DOCTOR forum.

Good luck.

edited to add a p.s. If you're thinking it could be something else causing the itching, I'd rule out peanuts first as it is one of the most dangerous allergies.

The majority of deaths caused by PA, happen in people who have only had mild reactions previously.
I'll see if I can find this bit of information and post it here.

[This message has been edited by Adele (edited October 22, 2006).]

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By Adele on Sun, 10-22-06, 14:34

This isn't the information I was looking for, but good info for you to read (taken from: [url="http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/English/peanutsoyahp.htm"]http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/English/peanutsoyahp.htm[/url]

How can I tell if my peanut allergy is "anaphylactic"?

Most if not all peanut allergy are considered potentially anaphylactic. Even a mild food allergy can cause anaphylaxis if enough is eaten. Once you have been prescribed an EpiPen

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By agodfrey0201 on Sun, 10-22-06, 18:44

Damaeus--The condition you are experiencing on your fingers is indeed eczema, and it may be caused not only by eating peanuts but by using liquid soaps and detergents that have some substance in them that is extracted from peanuts. For me, the severe anaphylactic reaction to eating peanuts came first, dating from when I was 3 years old. I only experienced the severe eczema, on my fingers and toes, when I was older and began washing dishes regularly. The itching and oozing was so terrible that I would run extremely hot water on my fingers and toes to kill the itching. The only way I have been able to keep this eczema at bay is by total avoidance of any liquid detergents, including liquid soaps dispensed in public restrooms and the newer liquid soaps put out by the makers of Dial and other bar soaps. And all I have to do to get a recurrence of the eczema is to use two fingers to move a sponge or washcloth that has been used with dish detergent--the little bumps show up within a day. If you're using liquid soaps, even with rubber gloves, this could be part of the problem. It may take as long as 3 to 6 months of avoiding them to get rid of the eczema. Hope this helps.

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By Adele on Sun, 10-22-06, 20:16

And one more little bit of info for you....
(taken from: [url="http://www.anaphylaxis.org/"]http://www.anaphylaxis.org/[/url]

People who experience "mild" reactions to peanuts, tree nuts or shrimp, will probably never have a fatal reaction.

FALSE. 6/32 people had experienced "mild" reactions in the past. 5/30 had never reported their symptoms to a physician.

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By KaraLH on Sun, 10-22-06, 21:41

Here's my thought. Damaeus, I think you have been very lucky so far! Definetly find a good allergist, call immediatly! Get tested and also tell him about your fingers. It sure does sound like eczema, (I'm not a doctor though)and work on finding the trigger for that if you can too. I have a newly diagnosed 2.5 yo daughter to PA, EA and also need to avoid tree nuts and shellfish. Her reactions too have been mild (to the peanut) and we were warned how unpredictable allergies can be. It scares me to death to think she could have a life threatening reaction the more she is exposed. It feels like a lot of pressure, but we'll do what it takes to avoid it.
I also have a 4 yo daughter that has severe eczema, we actually can find no trigger, but do use a cabinet full of steroids, creams and special soaps on a rotating basis. We also give her an antihistimine daily to help calm the itch. She is allergic to petrolatum though and that makes treatment that much more difficult.
Anyway, Damaeus, take care of yourself.
And thanks everyone for all of the info you have been sharing. I have also found it very helpful and definately helps when it comes to completely changing a lifestyle. It is a tough transition, at least so far it has been for us. But it is a life, I don't like to mess around with a life, especially my childrens.

Kara

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By xoxstacey on Mon, 10-23-06, 03:37

Hey Dameaus... I too ate peanuts/treenuts my whole life with little reaction. I would get an itchy throat and tingly toungue after eating my fav snack chocolate covered almonds...yum... I so miss them.... When I told my parents my dad would casually say " Oh you must be allergic, i get an itchy throat when I eat raw carrots and walnuts" I thought this was normal, fine, especially since my dad didn't seem conserned and he too continued to eats all nuts.

anyhow, my throat got more and more itchy each time I ate almonds and one day it was so bad I was making that clearing your throat sound (looking back I think my throat was getting thick) I told my doctor when I went in for a differ reason and he said I was "nuts" for keeping eating almonds and that I should infact avoid all nuts and he wanted me to see an allergist. I shrugged this off....

Almost a year ago now while pregnant with my daughter (she is 6 months now) It was a couple days before Christmas... I was snacking on a traditional snack my aunt makes (shreddies,pretzals,peanuts and cherioes, covered in white chocolate) I munched on this the 23rd 24th and Christmas. each night I had and itchy throat and a strange matalic taste in my mouth. I didn't make the connection since I never had any reation to peanuts. Christmas morn I noticed hives and my mom sent me to the hospital to get checked.

I was told to stay away from nuts and peanuts and to act as though I was deathly allergic. The doctor in the ER told me I was playing with my life. Said I didn't realise how serious this could become....

So I stayed away and even after I gave birth I still stayed away.... my fam doctor told me there was no point in sending me to an allergist anymore since it's obvious I have an allergy to treenuts and peanuts. He worried about a reaction to the scratch test...

I couple months ago I ate activia yogart without reading the label. I toke one bite and this time instantly felt a think tounge and itchy throat. when I read the label it said "contains nuts" (the apple pear flavor)I started itching all over so went straight to the walk in... they rushed me in and the dr gave me a shot of benedryl and drew up an epi. He called an abulance and was panicing. At the hospital they gave me IV steriods and benedryl. I was told I was lucky... that I almost was given the epi... but the benedryl worked so well they decided to just keep me in and keep an eye on me (no breathing troubles)... I was alright but had to take benedyrl for a couple days after for the hives....

Wow... long story... sorry... the moral of this story and many others is that even if you have had mild reactions in the past it can turn serious...fast....

Stacey

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By Damaeus on Mon, 10-23-06, 04:52

Quote:Originally posted by agodfrey0201:
[b]Damaeus--The condition you are experiencing on your fingers is indeed eczema, and it may be caused not only by eating peanuts but by using liquid soaps and detergents that have some substance in them that is extracted from peanuts. For me, the severe anaphylactic reaction to eating peanuts came first, dating from when I was 3 years old. I only experienced the severe eczema, on my fingers and toes, when I was older and began washing dishes regularly. The itching and oozing was so terrible that I would run extremely hot water on my fingers and toes to kill the itching. The only way I have been able to keep this eczema at bay is by total avoidance of any liquid detergents, including liquid soaps dispensed in public restrooms and the newer liquid soaps put out by the makers of Dial and other bar soaps. And all I have to do to get a recurrence of the eczema is to use two fingers to move a sponge or washcloth that has been used with dish detergent--the little bumps show up within a day. If you're using liquid soaps, even with rubber gloves, this could be part of the problem. It may take as long as 3 to 6 months of avoiding them to get rid of the eczema. Hope this helps. [/b]

You mentioned relieving the itch by running extremely hot water over the area that itches. [b]I do that, too!!![/b] Oh, man that relieves the itch like nothing else can! It's better than...well, sex. Truly. I got a flare-up at work one day and went into the dish washing area, got the water sprayer and set it on hot with a bit of cool water since, being a commercial kitchen, the water was way too hot even to relieve itching, and I just stood there enjoying the hot water with a look of utter bliss on my face -- water hot enough that it would cause horrible pain to areas that were not itching.

Yes, I'm becoming convinced. I'll see if I can find an allergist someplace to do a peanut test on me. If it's indeed peanuts, I can do without them if it gets rid of this nasty problem. Maybe that's why I've been having a problem with dry mouth lately, too. Perhaps it's all related.

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By Damaeus on Mon, 10-23-06, 19:59

(quote removed)

Hard to tell, so far. I haven't had the intense facial itching problem the last two nights, though. Still waiting and seeing on the other stuff.

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By Damaeus on Wed, 10-25-06, 07:18

(quote removed)

Funny that you mention it, yes I do, sometimes. I thought it was just the extremely hot weather. I don't recall having that problem as much since the weather has cooled off.

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By Damaeus on Wed, 10-25-06, 13:31

(quote removed)

Yeah, as far as I know. Here are some improvements I've noticed:

[list][*] Dry mouth has improved. I now have more moisture in my mouth.[/*:m][*] The skin around my eyes had been quite dry, flaky and itchy for the past few years, but has come and gone, and I could never figure out why. It's now soft and not dry or flaky at all. It's still a little itchy, but that could get better over the next few days, too.[/*:m][*] The skin at the folds of my arms still seems a bit sensitive, but it, too, seems to have improved. It was becoming quite dry and flaky, as well, and itched like the dickens if I messed with it too much.[/*:m][*] Torn intestine feeling is gone.[/*:m][/list:u]

There may be other improvements I'm not remembering, but that covers it off the top of my head.

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By Adele on Wed, 10-25-06, 14:10

Damaeus,
Before I was diagnosed with PA I had a terrible problem with dry eyes. On a scale of 1-10 my cornea were are 0, so I had repeated eye infections. I had temporary lacrimal plugs put in my tear ducts to see if I could tolerate them - and had an appointment to have the permanent plugs put in when I found out I had PA.

Since then, the dry eye problem has completely disappeared. I never would have guessed that something I was eating could cause such a problem. So it makes sense that it may also be causing your dry mouth.

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By momll70 on Wed, 10-25-06, 14:19

Hi, I just want you to know that I became allergic to peanuts when I was 26 and the first reactions took place the next day. It was hard for me to figure out what was going on until the reactions became closer to the time after eating peanuts or peanutbutter and eventually right after eating them. I felt a choking feeling in my throat as if I was choking on sand and I would drink water and it wouldn't go away. I'm glad to hear you will get checked. Please be careful and at least for now get some Benadryl in case you don't have it around.

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