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 Post subject: Allergies and Cold Sores
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:02 pm
Posts: 7
A few days ago I ate some vine grown grapes with my lunch. Later that afternoon I noticed a small blister on the corner of my lip. I didn’t think anything of it and ate more of the same grapes the next day. The afternoon followed with awful stomach cramping, a headache and two painful blisters surrounded by slightly inflamed tissue on the same corner of my lip. It didn’t occur to me until much later to try benadryl (after hours of pain and running back and forth to the washroom) and it helped immediately. Curious. So I haven’t eaten any more of those grapes but saved the rest to try again later.

Later that evening a red patch appeared below my eye. Very itchy and blistery. Then another patch on my chin and on my ear. Then more on the other side, nearly symmetrical, along the jaw line. It has now spread farther up both cheeks and below the chin in small, very itchy, blisters. Yesterday another patch showed up above one eyebrow.

I have isolated spots on both arms and a couple on my hands. Spots on each leg and a larger patch on one leg where I had an outbreak of cold sores this summer. A few small spots on shoulder, back and stomach.

(I have a long history of nasty cold sores. I’m prone to severe outbreaks three or four times a year and minor ones sometimes as frequently as every couple of weeks, once a month at best. I used to break out on and around my lips. Within the last few years it has moved more commonly to above my lip with the worst patches inside my nose. Also under my tongue and within the last year onto the top of my tongue and the gums above my teeth. A few moths ago I got a few blisters on the top of my nose when there was a nasty outbreak mostly inside. This summer I had a cluster of itchy blisters on my leg. Thankfully I don’t get them in all of those places at the same time.)

Does this ever happen to anyone else? Who do you see about it? Regular doctor, dermatologist or allergist? Is it possible that this is an allergic reaction? Or maybe triggered by one? I’ve identified things like illness, stress, hormones and sunlight as triggers but perhaps there is more to it. Spicy and salty foods can also do it, so it could just be contact irritation from the grape skin or juice (on my lip) and the rest is just a coincidence.

I was only thinking cold sores until I remembered the grapes. I have never heard of cold sores being triggered by allergy or related in any way. I haven’t confirmed that they are in fact cold sores yet but they do look and feel like it. My doctor can be very dismissive so I want to have some idea what to say to him because I’m sure he’ll look for a few seconds, whip up a prescription for cream or something and send me on my merry way. I need help!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Sounds like a bad reaction! Do you drink wine without any problems? I know that grapes are often sprayed with sulfites . . . wine has a lot of sulfites as well. There are a few people who posted about sulfite sensitivity here . . but not too many. AL magazine featured sulfite allergy in the first issue.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Ontario
If your doctor is dismissive I would ask him/her for a referral to a dermatologist, that's who can likely help you. There is medication out there, it's an oral drug not a cream, that suppresses the virus that causes herpes simplex (cold sores) flare ups. My doctor prescribed it for me when my cold sores started appearing inside my nose (painful!) and the drug works great.

It's called Famvir (famciclovir tablets) and it's very expensive but usually covered by your drug plan and worth every penny, if your dermatologist does determine that your outbreaks are caused by the herpes virus. Have you ever considered that you may have shingles? I'm not very familiar with shingles but it is painful and is also caused by a virus.

Good luck and hope you find some answers. Your doctor does sound dismissive indeed if you've had a "long history of nasty cold sores" and he's never prescribed this drug to help ease your suffering!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
I get cold sores when I have a corn reaction. A minor one would be cold sores in the corners of my mouth and itchy around my mouth/eyes for a couple days to a week. A major one would include blisters on and around my mouth too. My allergist aid cold sores are 'unusual' as far as reactions go, but he is a big believer in 'if it bothers you, don't eat it' so once his skin test confirmed my suspicion that corn was the culprit, I try and stay away. It is in SO many things though. I do get one or two incidents a month from eating some by accident. The cold sores and itchiness are always the first sign.

_________________
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: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
About 10 years ago I went through a bout where I got itchy round blisters on my forearms and shins. They would open up and they were very deep, I would have a gouge out of my skin after they healed, and a scar that took a long time to heal.

It turned out to be a type of eczema, but it took me a long time to figure it out, and none of the doctors I went to knew what it was. I can't remember the name now. I will think about it and see if I can come up with it, cos it sounds similar to what is happening to you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:02 pm
Posts: 7
Thanks all. It is a type of eczema/dermatitis and not cold sores, aside from the one small one on my lip that healed pretty quickly which I still think was from the grape skin. The rash is still raging and spreading nearly two weeks later and the cream I got is doing little to help.

Does this sound like eczema? I have tons of blistery red spots on my arms, legs, fingers, cheeks and under my chin (almost but not quite like chicken pox) and some are running together in thin lines, others in small clusters. And then there are patches of red welts (like small hives but benadryl does nothing) down my sides and across my stomach and a huge patch of more typical looking eczema behind one knee.

So now I’m trying to identify the allergy and I’m at a complete loss. If anyone has had this before I would be incredibly grateful to hear what you did to get over it or hunt down the cause. I’m very itchy!

On the original topic…I’m still curious whether there is a link between cold sores and allergies. In theory there could be, the hsv-1 virus seems to attack when the immune system is compromised. There might be something to that. It would be wonderful if dietary changes could help reduce outbreaks of the virus.

Carolyn (and anyone who has taken Famvir) do you find it helps? I was on a 60-day dose last winter and didn’t find that it did much in preventing outbreaks. It did help shorten the healing time slightly but that was with using Zovirax cream in addition to the Famvir tablets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Eczema on me has always been red bumps on my arm, hands or knees. It always responds to hydrocortizone. One of the reasons I found the food allergy problem so frustrating was the doctor kept insisting it was just eczema, even though I knew it was't, it looked nothing like what eczema looks like on me, did not respond to any creams or treatments and basically did not at all behave as eczema has with me, but he saw 'skin issue' and immediately said 'oh, it's eczema.' It took two years for them to finally agree with me that it wasn't and and by then I was about to make the connection with corn on my own.

_________________
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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