I've been posting here on occasion for a few months now so I thought I'd get around to introducing myself. I wasn't sure that I would stay around because I have been spending way too much time on another allergy message board (allergicliving.com) and need to cut back, but this is such an amazing site.
Some medical notes about myself: I have environmental allergies, oral allergy syndrome, nasal rhinitis year round, and a host of food allergies (including peanut). When I was a kid I had severe asthma + I had eczema on my hands. Now I'm dealing with some mild respiratory problems---my respirologist and allergist have different opinions on this, however. I'm on meds for acid reflux too.
I've known about the PA since I was a kid--my mother never fed me peanuts because my uncle is anaphylactic to nuts. I wasn't all that serious about avoidance, though, until I got the proverbial wake up call--when I was in highschool I had a full blown ana. reaction to caramel corn which perhaps had peanuts....perhaps another type of nut. (Eating it in the first place was just plain stupid.) Had never been prescribed an epi. The word "anaphylaxis" had never come up in any medical appointment in spite of the fact that I had been diagnosed (by an allergist) with tons of environmental allergies as well as asthma and severe food allergies and had had ana reactions in the past (but I didn't know that that was anaphylaxis).
After that event, I was prescribed an epipen, but not shown how to use one or told when to use one. I think I figured that I would have time to pull out the instruction book and read it in case of emergency. (Which I did have to do at one point.) I now have the technique down pat! It has been a long learning process---but I learned.
On Mar 9, 2006
Hi Lisa, I float back and forth between both sites, too. Since I have allergies other than just nut, the Allergic Living site has some advantages. But this site is extremely active, and I've found tons of information that is still relevant to my other FA.
See you on both sites, Daisy
On Mar 10, 2006
Hi. I was just wondering what you are taking for the acid reflux? I'm having it constantly lately and it's driving me batty. I've taken Prevacid on and off but I couldn't afford to be on it long term. Right now, I'm using over the counter Ranitidine and also Alka-Mints, but they are not enough.
I really related to your post since I had severe asthma, allergies, and eczema as a child too. I still have the allergies (including environmental) and eczema.
Welcome to the boards here and I'll have to visit the other board some day when I have time.
Take care and stay safe.
Terri in the USA (Severe allergy to peanuts, walnuts, and haddock - and avoid all nuts and fish)
On Mar 10, 2006
Daisy, Thanks for the welcome--I knew I recognized your username [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Hi NutsBugMe, I'm on Losec. Just started on it recently....2-3 months ago. It is expensive...but as a student I have a drug plan (it doesn't cover everything, but it is pretty good).
I have concerns about this whole GERD business. Here's the story: when I was a kid, I had severe respiratory problems--i.e. spent a lot of time in emerg + on occasion was admitted to hospital and stuck in an oxygen tent. My father has asthma; both sisters have asthma. When I was in the first grade, I was prescribed asthma meds and the visits to the hospital stopped.
In junior high, I was reevaluated by a respirologist, my meds were switched around---I was put on low doses of corticosteroids and my asthma was stable for years.
When I moved to Toronto (7 years ago) and was put up in a hotel as I waited for the campus residence I was supposed to be in to be built (I'm thinking more mold, dust than I'm used to), I started to have some mild respiratory problems---chesttightness, waking up at night occasionally. I was shipped off to a respirologist who put me on more asthma meds which didn't seem to work very much (they did a little, but for the minor problems I was having they should have totally helped). Then she ran me through a methacholine challenge which came back negative. All the breathing tests seemed fine...until she measured how I do at breathing in + she found some obstruction. (the curve on the graph flattens out all the time). So she suspected vocal chord dysfunction which is often misdiagnosed as asthma. My allergist, however, says he doesn't care what the respirologist says--I have asthma. How could I not with all the allergies. I would tend to side with my allergist except for my respirologist has been very thorough and has run me through all the tests whereas my allergist just seems to be making a pronouncement based on his clinical experience with other patients....but on the other hand it seems to me that I had a bit of an asthma attack when cycling in the fall in the cooler weather. Was it VCD? who knows.
Anyways, my respirologist shipped me off to an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor who said that my vocal chords look fine but my larynx is inflamed. Also, I was getting acid reflux sometimes....like when doing Pilates, lying down. But the acid reflux in and of itself wasn't that bad...it is very mild...but I suppose it is the inflamed larynx that is the concern here.
So my respirologist is trying to work on nasal rhinitis + acid reflux because they could both cause VCD. I've tried all the drugs my allergist has in his arsenal for allergic rhinitis....none of them work that well. He sent me for a CT scan. Yep, there's inflammation. Even in the winter. (I react to all of the pollens, grasses, ragweed but also to dust and some molds.) He sort of suggested allergy shots....but hesitated to start them because I might be moving soon...but I don't really know *what* I'll be doing just yet If I really wanted to start the allergy shots, he would probably be fine with it--I just don't know what I want to do.
Losec does help. But my concern is that I read that this type of medicine can cause an increase in IgE levels.....which is precisely what I don't need!
I'm also wondering (after doing a bit of research) whether I could have allergic eosinophilic esophagitis....which is often misdiagnosed as GERD. I do have trouble swallowing meat sometimes without water....I guess I'll ask my respirologist the next time I see her.
If anyone has any insights/suggestions about any of this, do let me know!
On Mar 11, 2006
Thanks for the info.
Wow, you are going through a lot right now! I hope that you can sort it all out. I've had my share of health problems (still do) and it can get very confusing.
Terri in the USA
On Mar 13, 2006
Thanks, Terri. I'm not majorly sick or anything, but I do feel like I always have a bit of a cold especially when I wake up in the morning. And my quality of sleep could be better. Maybe allergy shots will turn me into the morning person that I think I might be!
On Mar 15, 2006
Terri, I've been on Prilosec for acid-reflux. When I have problems I can take two a day instead of one. It really helps.
On Mar 16, 2006
Good luck on the morning person thing. No matter how hard I've tried, or how many times I've tried, I'm a night owl! And since I'm in my mid 40's, I might as well accept it and resign myself to being a 2nd shift gal.
Thank you. I'm thinking that Prilosec is over-the-counter? I'll check the pharmacy next time I go and if it's not I'll talk to my doc next visit and see what I can best afford.
Terri in the USA
On Mar 16, 2006
Lisa, welcome! This site is great, I have learned so much and I doubt it would have been the same without this tool. Learning everything in this world takes time or school wouldn't take so many years... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I am glad you have come a long way and now you are better equipped to deal with your allergies.
------------------ Luisa "Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it."
On Mar 17, 2006
Well, Terri, I'm not much of a night owl either [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Thanks for the welcome, Luisa!
On Mar 17, 2006
Terri, Prilosec is available over the counter for about $28 for 30 pills. I don't know where you live in the U.S. but you can get the generic equivalent in Mexico for about $20 for a 3-month supply.
I'm curious if you were taking antacid meds prior to your PA diagnosis? There's an Austrian study that suggests a link between meds such as Prilosec (that shut down the acid-producing mechanism). The study suggests that when the stomach is no longer producing as much acid, large proteins such as peanut, can enter the bloodstream in a less broken-down state, making it easier for the immune system to recognize it as 'the enemy'. This doesn't apply to regular antacids such as Alka-mints, Tums, etc.
This possible link makes sense in my case as I've been on meds such as Tagamet, etc. since they came on the market years ago. I was diagnosed with PA a year ago though I probably had a mild allergy for years before an anaphylactic reaction caused my diagnosis. I'm 56 now.
Lisa - I've also had problems with asthma diagnosis. I have cough-variant asthma that is triggered by processed foods - along with cold, fog, dogs, laughing hard, etc. I think the food trigger is sodium benzoate, a known asthma-trigger. But my last asthma/allergist doctor was convinced I had a swallowing problem and prescribed a video-esophagram ($1000 test!)
Like you, I also occasionally have trouble swallowing things such as dry chicken. I argued that if my cough was caused by a swallowing problem then I would cough when I eat basic foods....which I don't. Anyway, I had the test done - and it showed normal swallowing. The test is simple. You just stand in front of an x-ray machine while you swallow different barium-loaded foods.
The test also showed a small, insignificant hiatal hernia and no esophogeal damage from GERD. When I occasionally have trouble with heartburn, I don't cough. When I cough, I'm not aware of having any heartburn.
If you have the video esophogram done - check the crackers, etc. that they give you to eat. Though 'peanut allergy' was all over my chart, it didn't occur to the technician to check the food labels.
The methacholine challenge is expensive so I haven't had it done. My lung volume test is normal - but then my dad's also was for years and he has exactly the same type of asthma. He is also on Prilosec for GERD. Food, among other things, triggers his asthmatic cough. He's been living with it for years and has had the same frustrations with doctors. As he gets older he also wheezes.
Does your asthma make you cough? When mine is bad, I cough continuously. A codeine based cough syrup stops the cough immediately....though some are contra-indicated for asthma. Hydrocod/hom (generic for hydromet) works wonders. One spoonful and I can sleep all night.
Does Ventolin (albuterol) help? Ventolin is diagnostic - and doesn't work on non-asthmatics. I've been on Advair now for 5 continuous months and finally see a noticeable difference in the coughing.
It seems that asthma can have different faces. If you don't have the classic symptoms from standard triggers, it's not as easy to diagnose. I think diagnosis would be easier if I wheezed instead of the continual coughing.
Sorry for such a long and rambling post.
On Mar 17, 2006
No, antacids have nothing to do with my nut allergies. I've had the allergies since childhood. I had eczema as an infant, asthma soon followed, and the allergies too. My mother also had a nut allergy, and asthma. Thankfully, my asthma has been in "remission" for many years. I had allergy shots (for environmental stuff) for 5 years and it really seemed to have helped my asthma. Now I just have to avoid things like you do (fog, night dampness, animals, hay) and I'm okay.
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Terri in the USA (Severely allergic to peanuts, walnuts, haddock, tuna and avoid all nuts and fish)
On Mar 18, 2006
Thanks Adele for all the info.! you sure have a lot of asthma triggers. I find it interesting that you react to processed foods (I'm an anti-processed food type--partly because of multiple food allergies. it is difficult for me to find processed food that I can actually eat. so I've made necessity into a virtue and become enthusiastic about whole foods)
Those tests are very expensive--I guess I'm lucky to be living in Canada and to not have to worry about the costs of those tests.
I don't have a cough---I just wake up every morning feeling like I have slight difficulty breathing--I would say chesttightness but I'm not sure that the problem is in my chest. It isn't not like I actually can't breathe or anything but it is just enough of a problem to make me feel uncomfortable and sometimes my quality of sleep is not as good. I used to wake up in the middle of the night feeling not that greatest and be unable to go back to sleep but that hasn't happened for a long time. (And I don't think the sinus congestion or year round hayfever-like symptoms help either.)
I do wheeze *slightly* on the rare occasion or when exposed to things like cigarette smoke, paint fumes, animals, very old books. But that could be from VCD or from asthma--actually, because I wheeze when breathing in this suggests VCD.
When I was cycling this fall, I was short of breath (not due to exercise) and it seemed more like asthma. I guess what I think is that I have VCD but also have mild allergen-triggered asthma. My father is the same with asthma--he had asthma as a kid but now only has an attack when he gets too much exercise in the cold or is exposed to an allergen.
I have found that Ventolin helps--I very rarely take it, however--I don't take it for the morning symptoms which seem to go away after a hot shower, but I do if I suddenly feel chesttightness during the day. My respirologist had me take Ventolin in the office and measured my breathing before and after--there was no difference. At the time I wasn't having breathing problems, however.
I haven't really given much thought to the swallowing problems until recently when I started to do some research-- the one thing that I really had trouble with was Tylenol (until they changed the shape of the pill). Swallowing those white pills hurts--they stick on the way down.
I will definitely mention this to my respirologist the next time I see her...which is next week, actually.
That is interesting about the antacid medication and allergies---I read something similar although I haven't seen the study you refer to. I'll try to find the citation in the near future and post it.
On Mar 19, 2006
Adele, I found that citation--it was an article referenced in the _Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology_
here's the relevant paragraph from the JACI article by Scott Sicherer and Hugh Sampson:
(Vol 117, Supplement 2, Feb 2006. pp S470-S475)
"The gastrointestinal mucosal barrier is a complex physical (mucus, epithelial cell tight junctions, acid, and enzymes) and immunologic structure. 12 Abrogation of the barrier might promote food allergy; studies neutralizing stomach pH showed increased ability to promote allergic sensitization. 15 Similarly, developmental immaturity of components of the gut barrier (enzymatic activity and sIgA) might account for the increased prevalence of food allergy in infancy. However, a small amount of ingested food antigens is normally absorbed and transported throughout the body in an immunologically intact form, and oral tolerance prevails."
note 15 is to: Untersmayr E., Bakos N., Scholl I., Kundi M., Roth-Walter F., Szalai K., et al. Anti-ulcer drugs promote IgE formation toward dietary antigens in adult patients, FASEB J, Volume: 19, (2005), pp. 656--658
(The FASEB = The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)
On Mar 20, 2006
Lisam, thanks for the information. I've also raised the other thread that talks about the Austrian study in case anyone is interested in the possible link between FA and acid-blockers.
On Mar 21, 2006
Thanks for raising the topic---I actually had an appointment with my respirologist today (who had prescribed Losec) so all this info. was timely! I appreciated the fact that she listened to my concerns (about the Losec and the swallowing issues, etc.) She's sending me to a gastroenterologist...she thinks it will be okay if I go off the meds until then.