Computer allergy and 5 unusual allergies that will surprise you
The environment can be a scary place for some people. I am not talking hallowween scary. I am talking about going to the emergency room type of scarey. An allergic reaction can cause an individual to react with symtoms as benign as watery eyes or a rash. However, it could be as serious as difficulty in breathing and anaphalytic shock.
Allergies are caused when the immune system highly reacts to a generally harmless stimulus. This could be a reaction to something ingested, inhaled, touched or even absorbed through the skin. Your immune system, thinking your body is under attack, launches an assault of histamines as protection. It is the body’s reaction to these histamines that cause the symptoms commonly thought of as an allergic reaction.
When it comes to allergies, most people think of things like dust, mold, milk, soy and peanuts. But there are allergies that are much more difficult to diagnose. These types of allergies are often baffling. I know this, as it took over two years to find out I have developed an allergy to salicylates. It started out as a rash and hives and eventually became more worrisome with facial and throat swelling with difficulty swallowing and breathing. It became obvious that I would not be able to take aspirin anymore as that is the main ingredient. What was less obvious however was that I had to monitor my ingestion of strawberries, tomatoes, mushrooms, almonds and peppermints. I can eat these things however I cannot overload myself with too many offending foods. Also, I have to read the labels on shampoos, lotions and cosmetics. Salicylic acid is a common ingredient. Therefore, in reality I can say that I am allergic to shampoo. What? If you think that is bizarre, look at what some people are allergic to.
What? No really. It is called Aquagenic urticaria and is characterized by itchy white or red hives. The temperature of the water does not affect the occurrence. It affects women primarily and can affect portions or the entire body. Benadryl does not seem to help however there are studies that show that the pain relieving cream capsaicin may help. The cause is unknown.
Okay. This is a stretch. It is not really money but what coins are made of that can cause allergic reactions. It is the metal, specifically nickel that can cause allergies. This type of metal is used in coins, zippers, buckles, jewelry and watches. It can cause itchy hives and watery blisters. Women are more apt to have this allergy than men and it is cumulative, In other words it may be caused by extensive exposure such as working with metals or having numerous body piercings. My father had this allergy and could not wear metal banded watches. Cold wet compresses, antihistamines and steroid creams may help with the symptoms.
This allergy is felt to be due to the exposure to electromagnetic fields in hypersensitive individuals. Is could also be due to emissions from the inner workings of the computer and monitor such as flame retardants and plastic components. Symptoms are increased nasal congestion and headaches. Reducing exposure and antihistamines may help.
Skin contact dermatitis from shoes is actually fairly common. Symptoms are hives and a red itchy rash. It occurs after contact with chemicals used in the manufacturing of the shoes. The offensive chemicals include rubber cement, resins, glues and chemicals used in tanning hides. As you wear the shoes and sweat the allergic reactions can get worse. Wearing absorbent socks and foot powder may help.
Ok, I have to admit it. I have this allergy. It stems from a latex and rubber allergy. Since most underwear has these offenders in the waistbands it is a common allergy. Also in some hypersensitive individuals, there is a reaction to chemicals used in producing lycra and nylon. Symptoms are itchy welts and even watery blisters. Oral antihistamines and cortisone cream helps however wearing all cotton underwear without the offending agents is a better idea.
It is called solar urticaria or polymorphic light eruptions, and can cause painful hives and welts. It is more common in Native Americans and Caucasians. It is an inherited sensitivity. It can be due to a chemical reaction to cosmetics or lotions as well as certain medications that cause sun sensitivity. Again, antihistamines and steroid creams may help.
Take away message
In order to reduce symptoms, individuals need to tune into their bodies and be aware of how they react to their environment. Keep a diary of what you eat, wear and are exposed to when you have symptoms. Look for patterns. See an allergist and get skin tested if in doubt. Symptoms can escalate into a serious event. No pun intended, however allergies are nothing to sneeze at.