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 Post subject: Am I allergic???
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 8
Location: California
Hi there... I am so lost, could use some advice.
I went to Europe last summer and have been itching ever since. In Oct 2007, I had allergy skin testing. The test shows that anything 5x5 and over is positive. I was 5x5 for Corn, soy beans, Almonds and green peas- along with most weeds, grasses trees and mold- some of which were 6x6 and 7x7. I was also 3x3 for peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cantaloupe and carrots, which supposedly are not positive (but I am still afraid to eat them). Between October and January I kind of stayed away from most foods, but still ate them, because I didn't know any better. The Allergist gave me allegra and just said to keep an eye on the allergens. I have never had any type of 'reaction' to thefoods before, just regular sneezing, runny nose, etc and seasonal itching.
In February, I had a panic attack (due to stress in my life- grad student, looking for job, money, etc...) but it happened after I had a chocolate chip cookie. I thought it was anaphylactic shock. (Which I have never experienced before) But it wasn't. Ever since, I have had mild attacks in relation to food mostly. After it happened, I scoured the internet for information on food allegies, and I think I did more damage to myself than education.
I went to another allergist a month and a half ago...through the same insurance. He looked at the former allergists notes and my results, and said I am probably not allergic to food at all. I just have to try the food, corn, soy etc, to see. He said in his 19 yrs of being an allergist, he has never seen a corn allergy, and very few food allergies, and the tests are more often than not, false positives. He said Itching is mostly 90% other factors. He suggested a new soap, with glycerine to help dry skin.. and that was pretty much it.
My skin did get some what better, but havent completely stopped itching. I also am still only eating the same few foods, and have tried bits of other foods and either got a mild panic attack, or still continuous itching.
Most of my friends have been telling me its all in my head.
I am very lost, and hate feeling this way. I have always been pretty normal in relation to everything, so not sure if its just a stress thing or what.
I'd love any advice on the allergy skin testing, or any other advice you can offer.
Thank you so much for a great forum, your support and consideration.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6463
Location: Ottawa
Quote:
He said in his 19 yrs of being an allergist, he has never seen a corn allergy, and very few food allergies, and the tests are more often than not, false positives. He said Itching is mostly 90% other factors. He suggested a new soap, with glycerine to help dry skin.. and that was pretty much it.


While it is true that many hives are idiopathic (never find the reason), I find it hard to believe that he has rarely come across food allergies in 19 years of practice.

That being said, some people are more suceptible to anaphylaxis allergies than others, the food one is allergic to, asthma and excema can al play a part in determinng the potential severity of a reaction.

It could be that your Dr felt your stress level had caused your body to be highly reactive to some allergies that you might normally have low level reations to.

Did you change your soap and did that help?

Could you take a food challenge at the Dr's office? Don't try this at home if you are concerned about food allergies.

If you don't feel this Dr is addressing your concerns, perhaps you could ask for a second opinion.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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 Post subject: Re: Am I allergic???
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 369
Location: Regina, Sask
krisartlvr wrote:
He said in his 19 yrs of being an allergist, he has never seen a corn allergy, and very few food allergies, and the tests are more often than not, false positives.


I hate to say this...but...most doctors (including allergists) do not have a clue about corn allergies!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
My allergist keeps changing his mind about the corn allergy. He tested me with a chemical sample and I was not allergic, tested me with real actual corn and I was, then re-tested me with a chemical sample when I went in for something else, and decided again that I was not but that if it made me feel better not to eat it, I shouldn't. I have found the medical profession a little frustrating as far as this stuff goes :) There was almost two years where the skin on my face was so raw and itchy and red that pharmacists would actually recoil in horror when I would go in and ask them to suggest a cream for me, and all along the doctors were saying it was 'just eczema.' Meanwhile, I can eat peanuts, which are a popular allergy, just fine, but was recently diagnosed with a flax allergy which is very rare :) So the bottom line is, they don't know anything about why people get these or what might set something off, and they are guessing just like we are. But the one thing he did say which was true, if it bothers you, don't eat it.

In the time I ave been on this board and others, and I have made an offer numerous times which nobody has ever taken me up on :) But I will make it to you as well. I have found it helpful to focus on foods I can eat, rather than dwelling on ones I cannot. So, if you would like some meal ideas, post a list of foods you know are safe and I am happy to make suggestions for you.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 8
Location: California
Thank you very much to all of you for your time in replying.
It is VERY frustrating not knowing what is happening with your body. Why your body reacts this way to things that you may not have reacted to before.
I have no idea what my body is reacting to. I have never had hives, just itching and red spots every once in a while, especially where I scratch a lot. Yep the ole itch-scratch cycle I'm sure.
I am pretty much eating only a couple different foods now, every day, which is getting pretty boring. But it is still healthy.
Luckily I am eating more fruits and veggies and losing weight. but it is still very hard when on Easter there were cakes, chocolate, bread...everything I used to love, right in front of me, and I couldnt eat it. I have to learn to deal with it, but its very hard.
Unfortunately, I havent had much time to figure out what I can really eat, and what I can't.
I had talked to my allergist about an oral food challenge. He said they don't really do that. Ughhh!!! This is through Kaiser, you would think they would be more on top of it than that. I may seek a 3rd opinion with another allergist, and this time take a friend with me, as I was very overwhelmed with the last allergist and forgot half of what he said.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 369
Location: Regina, Sask
Are you still taking the Allegra? It's got some really NASTY corn derivatives in it. I think that corn will be the most difficult of your allergens to avoid. I have skin reactions to corn as well and since taking all corn out of my diet, my skin is 100% better. On several occasions I would end up sleeping in a warm bath with baking soda because my skin would itch so badly. I actually got a little sleep that way...

I understand about the cakes and other goodies. I will sometimes walk through a grocery store sobbing because I know I will never be able to eat those things again. I make a lot of my own goodies. I keep telling myself that I am a much healthier person for eating whole, nutritious foods instead of the stuff on the store shelves.

You might have to do your own food challenges. Keeping a detailed food diary (everything you eat and drink and reactions) is extremely useful.

Dr. Joneja recommends "carefully controlled elimination and challenge to accurately identify the foods responsible for the symptoms of allergy". See the following excerpt:

Prof Janice M. Joneja Ph. D., RDN
It has been my experience through many years of managing food allergies and intolerances that adverse reactions to corn and corn derivatives are frequently undiagnosed, and the incidence of corn allergy is greatly underestimated. Because skin tests and tests for anti-corn antibodies in blood are generally negative, the assumption that corn allergy is uncommon has been made to the detriment of many corn-sensitive individuals - usually children. As this case study demonstrates, corn allergy is an example of a food allergy that can only be successfully and accurately identified by elimination and challenge. Corn is not unique in this respect since allergy to a number of foods is often overlooked because the standard allergy tests are negative. We have to keep in mind that because of the high incidence of false negative, and sometimes false positive results, estimates of the efficacy of skin and blood tests for food allergy never exceed 50%, and many practitioners rate them even lower. Even when a positive skin or blood test indicates the presence of anti-food IgE, elimination and challenge must be undertaken to demonstrate that the food does in fact cause clinical symptoms when it is consumed. It is more than probable that factors other than the presence of IgE (and/or IgG) antibodies, and reactive immune cells in the skin, are responsible for the expression of allergy. Until science is able to elucidate the precise mechanisms responsible for all types of clinical allergy, we must rely on carefully controlled elimination and challenge to accurately identify the foods responsible for the symptoms of allergy.

http://allergyadvisor.com/Educational/March04.htm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 8
Location: California
No, I only took 2 days of Allegra last week. I had read it has corn starch and other derivatives in it..but wanted to take that chance anyway.

I havent eaten anything with corn in at least a couple weeks but still itching. I did try a taste of a bagel on Easter...and itched that afternoon. I was also eating string cheese off and on, but it has salt, along with the packaging which I know may have corn.

Does anyone know the duration of itching, rashes for allegies, and how fast the onset is?
That is the hardest part for me, because I itch all the time, its hard to tell what its from. I even bought corn free, soy free soap and shampoo, etc..but still itching, so went back to my previous brands. I don't even know how I would tell if the shampoo and conditioner are causing reactions. My head only itches slightly, and that is hours after I use the shampoo and conditioner.
The joys of Allergies!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:41 pm
Posts: 42
Ok... So I know this thread is a couple months old but I may as well weigh in here.

I am allergic to Corn (Walnuts, most anti-biotic compounds, gravol, and latex as well). Eldi mentioned a number of points re:corn but if you are having daily itching it is entirely possible that it is a major factor.

The following is just the beginning of the mess. It is not a pretty allergy or intolerance. It is dreadfully hard to avoid. I hope you honestly find it is something else.

Allergy testing for corn is a pot shot at best. I went in knowing I had a problem and the specialist wiped my arm down with corn based alcohol. Then couldn't figure out why I was gasping from the burning sensation, or why I had no individual pin pricks come up but my whole arm was puffy. :roll:

I had to go back with corn starch, corn syrup, etc. and show the Doctor.

I now have specially compounded Benydryl, and Ibuprofen, as well as carrying an Epi-Pen.

My reactions vary based on exposure. Here are some:

Itching, hives, swelling, redness, burning sensations - skin contact or ingestion. (Can be as bad as looking like raw chicken skin)
Headaches, nausea, throat/face swelling, itching, hives, rashes, IBS like symptoms (TMI I know - sorry), respiratory distress - ingestion.
Respiratory distress, throat/face swelling, etc. - inhalation.

In short... Anaphylaxis from corn is possible (no matter what the "experts" say). And no... Not just from the "protine". I will respond to a drop of corn oil, or pop corn being made. I am now so finely tuned to it that I can smell pop corn being popped from approximately 1000 meters.

I live corn free most of the time (it is not easy and accidents happen a lot).

I do have a lot of resources I have found. If you need more info on them then please send me a message. I've not been able to determine the rules on posting links to other forums, or lists but I do have a 6 sided, laminated (which I did myself) set of cards to carry with me when shopping. If I can find defined guidelines I will head back here to post a couple links.

Some things you need to be aware of or quite literally beware of:

"From Concentrate"
"Vitamin/s ********** added/enriched"
Salt - as in table salt
Sugar - as in refined sugar - try stevia or organic cane sugar.
Frozen veggies - often sprayed with vitamin C (80% corn derived now)
Glycerin - Sure... Great... Vegetable based? Throw it out. You need Palm Kernel Oil based. You need to carefully determine the source of the glycerin.
Fresh Veggies - please note that you need to wash them well, and often peel them if they are the type that have a coating on them. You also need to be wary of veggies with areas a vitamin c spray can be trapped. Unfortunately many major grocers spray their veggies.
"Modified milk solids"
Glucose/Fructose/Sucrose/Dextrose - Yeah. I know. Remember how I mentioned Cane Sugar or Stevia above... That or beet sugar.
Please be cautious of yeast, and processed wheat (bleached, etc.)... There are some great corn free flours if you are up for making bread on your own. Otherwise maybe some breads that are yeast free - Some rye, barley, spelt flours work for this.

The list is long but those are the "sneaky" ones.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I am allergic to corn, too. fortunately, I've never had an anaphylactic reaction to corn, and, really, I don't think I ever would (knock on wood). Shelley and ficbot...Eldi has posted quite a lot of additional info. about corn allergy on this site--have you seen it?

And thanks Shelley for that list. I had heard that frozen veggies are sprayed with corn, but I didn't know which corn-derived product. i believe I had heard it was corn starch? I'm more comfortable with consuming corn-derived vitamin C as I react to corn starch!

I didn't know that refined sugar contained corn--that one is new to me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:41 pm
Posts: 42
Hi Helen,

There are a lot of things that really surprised me... I am very sensitive to anything corn (I started out with mild reactions but they seem to get worse on a daily or weekly basis).

I've been making my way through the site but it takes a bit of time to read it all so I haven't seen all or even most of it yet I think. This site is actually my 7th (I think) site re:corn allergies. Unfortunately most of the sites I am on or belong to only partially apply because many are American based and foods available there are not always available here and vice versa.

Be careful with the Vitamins: A lot of Vitamin C is corn derived... BUT when they ADD vitamins they often use corn starch as a carrying agent. It's sort of the corn double whammy... Same reason corn is in most iodized table salt - Corn is the bonding agent/carrying agent. When it is derived from it the Vitamin C is grown on a glucose compound (generally corn). You can always "try" to ask but most places will define it as an undefined/disclosed source. Even with many things that say they are "Corn Free".

I have a really big list... HUGE list of things I can not have. Thankfully not all items on it are created equal and not all cause the same reactions. :wink: I think you might be very surprised at many of the things on the list. Most are. There are some "might be derived from/contains" and there are a lot of "is derived from/contains" on it.

Toothpastes, soaps, suntan lotions, hair products, instant coffee, etc. etc. etc.

It is all a bit (a lot?) scary to realize how much our society has used corn as a filler agent in every thing.

Meh... I'm starting on one of my corn rants again. :wink: Sorry about that!

S


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 369
Location: Regina, Sask
Helen...Rogers beet sugar (white/refined) is totally safe for corn allergies. I am highly sensitive to any/all corn derivatives but I use this sugar every day with absolutely no trouble. I received confirmation from Rogers several years ago that their beet sugar has no corn derivatives. (Yeah I know....don't trust anything a company tells you...but in this case I can vouch that this is the case). Watch out for cane sugars though....sugar cane is closely related to corn and many corn allergics cannot tolerate cane sugar or molasses...me for one :o)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:41 pm
Posts: 42
I use Stevia or select cane sugars... I am going to have to check out Rogers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks Eldi and Shelley!

I knew that ascorbic acid = corn, but I did not know that corn starch was the carrier.

And, hey, corn rants are welcome here! A corn allergy has got to be the most frustrating allergy ever.

good to know about the beet sugar! :)


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