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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:11 pm
Posts: 2
I just had my first ever nasty reaction to anything this weekend - came off backshift, took the dog for a walk then fixed myself some lunch - cheese tortellini and alfredo sauce, prepackaged, as after working all night I'm kind of zombified for the rest of the day and don't feel like doing anything more complicated than warming things up.

After eating the pasta I noticed my left palm starting to itch and burn and get red,and started getting the same sensation elsewhere. I usually feel awful after a backshift anyway and put it down to that, but after a bit my face was hot and tingling,my heart was pounding,and I itched and burned all over. Still didn't think much of it til I went to the bathroom to maybe run a cold facecloth over the itch. Looked in the mirror and I was lobster red with big welts on my neck, and my face was swelling up a bit, hands too. It even felt like the roof of my mouth was getting tight too.Whoa! No trouble breathing,excepting breathless panic I think.

Called Mom, told her what was going on and asked for advice - was shaky and freaked out by then - she thought I ought to go to the emergency room, just in case it was serious, so I drove in to town, and went to the hospital. I've never even gone to the doctor since I was in my teens, so I've no idea what to do or expect really.

I Was shown right in and hooked up to one of those finger tip heart monitor things, blood pressure taken, lots of questions - what did I eat? Was I allergic to anything? Was I having trouble breathing?.
Given benadryl, and eventually injected with something - I was kinda overwhelmed with two nurses and a doctor sticking needles in trying to find a vein to catch what they were putting into the vein.

Whatever they put in started to take the reaction down right away, and they kept me under observation until all the symptoms disappeared and was sent home with a prescription for an epipen and benadryl for 48 hrs.

Thing is what now? I have no idea what caused this reaction. I expect it was an ingredient in the tortellini, as I'd already used part of the sauce eariler in the week and had no reaction.

I haven't got a family doctor, and I started looking for one today.(we're rural, so there is always a doctor shortage.) Got on a waiting list that for one may possibly take new patients a month or so from now. Do I need a reference from a family doctor to see an allergist and find out what I'm allergic to? Frankly, not knowing what caused it I'm afraid to eat much of anything.

Any advice from you folks who've gone through this would be much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Sorry to hear about your reaction - and I'm glad you got some help!

It is hard to know what to do next food-wise when it's not obvious what caused the reaction in the first place. Here's what I would do:

1. Get a referral to an allergist asap - you do need a referral - but even a walk-in clinic should be able to help you if you don't have any luck finding a family doc right away.

2. Keep the packaging of the food that you ate, so that at least you have a list of ingredients to take to the allergist. Note what "top 9" allergens are in it (dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, soy, fish, shellfish, wheat). You may have reacted to something else entirely, but at least you have that list.

3. Stay away from that particular food (obviously). If you can swing it, stick to "whole foods" (i.e. home-made, not prepackaged) until you can figure out what you reacted to.

4. Maybe call the company and ask about cross-contamination with the other "top 9" allergens. What I mean is: is there any risk that the food you ate came into contact with any of the top 9 allergens that are NOT listed on the label? Again, it could be something entirely different, but some sleuthing can't hurt.

5. Go to www.epipen.ca or www.twinject.ca and look at the training video. Make sure you know how to use the EpiPen or Twinject and start giving yourself pep talks about being able to use if it you need to. Get a trainer (they are free) and train those around you to use it on you in an emergency. Do not postpone using it if you even remotely think you need it. Epinephrine works wonders and there is no harm in giving the auto-injector "unnecessarily". Not giving it can result in a "bad outcome", as they say.

6. Go to www.allergysafecommunities.ca for some basic info about anaphylaxis.

7. Try to stay calm. Not easy I know. Perhaps stick to foods that have never given you any problems before. (Have you eaten this particular packaged food in the past?) Keep a food diary if you find that you are starting to have minor reactions. Your history is really important to an allergist.

Wish I could help more. Good luck!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:11 pm
Posts: 2
Thanks for your reply!

Looking at the ingredients in sauce and pasta both mention that they may have traces of all the top nine, all of which I either eat or come in contact with almost daily except fish and shellfish. I hate fish; shellfish especially - never eat the stuff. Leaning toward that as the cause, but as the ER doc said, sometimes these things can come up suddenly as well to things you've eaten for years.

Will be careful and try to get in to a doc as soon as possible!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
As we both agree, it could be anything, but it does seem to be rather common(ish) for adults to develop allergies to fish and shellfish. So that might be the culprit, but obviously best to have yourself tested.

Hang in there...!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Quote:
I expect it was an ingredient in the tortellini, as I'd already used part of the sauce eariler in the week and had no reaction.


I wouldn't rule out the sauce too quickly as our experience with my son is that he can safely eat something one day and then just days later can have a reaction to the same food. Seafood is particularly famous for that and you would be surprised how often fish or seafood is used as a flavouring or spice (Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauces, Thai or other Asian seasonings etc...). My son ate fish from the same frozen package 4 times before his first reaction. Now he is anaphylactic for fish.

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Sorry that you went through that! I too had my first major reaction s an adult, to something I had eaten tons of times before. It really scared me. My doctor thinks I should be able to eat them (raw apples) cooked, but I have been scared to try.

_________________
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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