So, way back last year (March 2010) when I was sooo desperate to get answers to why my eczema was flaring so badly I had my family doctor refer me to an allergist. Being in Canada where we have “universal” health care I got the next available appointment which was in August. Knowing I was going to be 9 months pregnant at that time I requested another date and was given an appointment in October.
I went in October with my mostly normal looking skin for the testing. The appointment started with a round of questions to figure out why I was there. It was kinda hard for me to describe what my last year has been like. It went kinda like this, “Yes doctor my eczema was crazy disgusting and nuts but now its doing okay”. My family history is always the same with eczema and allergies running in the family, ect. Anyways, he somehow decided which tests would be best for me and I was set up with the nurse who would scratch my arms with allergens a ridiculous amount of times.
It was all of the foods which I had tested allergic to with the naturopaths IgG testing last year plus environmental allergens (mold, dust, trees) and some animals (dog, cat, horse, cow). I know I am crazy allergic to deer as I have a history of my whole face swelling when exposed to the fur (okay, my Dad is a hunter if you are trying to figure out why I would be in contact with deer fur).
Just for fun, I took this picture a few minutes after the pricks. Yup, I am allergic to ragweed, cows, horses, grass and “trees” (I think birch was one). Oh, just seeing this picture makes me itch. Here it is:
After a very itchy 20 minutes, Dr. F came in and checked out the damage. Whoa! he says, “you are very allergic to cows and horses”. After measuring a couple of the food reactions (apparently a reaction of more than 3mm is considered allergic) and noting that NONE of the foods that showed up in the IgG testing came back as positive (well, banana and sesame were 2mm so I should watch them apparently) he invited back to his office to discuss the findings.
Back at the office we began with a discussion on dust. He recommended that I get a house cleaner (Score!, although he can’t write a script for this) to help keep down the household dust. He suggested that I consider getting “mite-proof” pillow and mattress casings for my bed to help keep the dust mites from propagating in my sleeping space. He gave me some information on a Canadian company called CAAP (or Canadian Allergy & Asthma Products) who sell high quality products with LIFETIME warranty. Here is the information sheet:
Dr. F also included in our conversation that he didn’t have any shares in the company but was quick to add you get what you pay for.
Onto my other allergens; grasses and ragweed. He gave me this lovely chart for the Ottawa area. He recommended that I keep track of my eczema symptoms over the next year and see if they correlate to any of the environmental triggers. He said that if they do I would be a prime candidate for allergy shots. Here is the chart:
You can see at the bottom where he wrote all the allergens I need to watch for. I also reacted to dogs and cats. I have always had a hard time around cats and dogs. He said that he wasn’t happy to hear we had a dog BUT that he wouldn’t recommend getting rid of her at this time however once the dog dies to not get another one. I can barely stay in a house for an hour without my asthma being triggered by cat dander. I am just not meant to live with animals.
So that’s that. Now to keep track of my symptoms, try to correlate them to an allergen and go from there. No puzzle pieces are fitting just yet.
Thank you for this blog! I was being treated with monthly intramuscular cortisone steroid shots from age 14 until I turned 30. While effective, I began noticing atrophy in the muscle at the injection site. Now I take (tons of) collagen supplements and use only topical treatments. And of course, the tanning bed!