Food Allergies Revisited

So, I’ve been coping with a mysterious case of hives for more than 6 months. They started small and I didn’t realize what they were. Over the past two months, the hives have gotten increasingly worse until the point where I wasn’t sleeping, barely working and stumbling through my job as a parent. Not good. Hives lasting more than 6 months are called chronic hives and, apparently, usually go undiagnosed. What? Yeah. Roughly 85% of people with chronic lives just have to suck it up.

My allergist ran a bunch of tests to rule out other underlying conditions. Contrary to popular belief, hives do not equal allergic reaction. At least, not in the typical understanding of the phrase. Could be hepatitis, liver disease, lupus, thyroid… and the list goes on. Anyway, tests for everything (including a WIDE variety of allergens) were negative. Good news and bad news. I’m glad to not have a nasty diagnosis, but also want to get rid of the hives, you know? So, after patiently trying a variety of pharmaceutical combinations to no avail, I called my allergist and insisted that it was time to pull out the big guns. He agreed and put me on a round of prednisone. In case you are lucky enough to not know, prednisone is a particularly nasty miracle drug that basically tells your immune system to take a little vacation. Great for removing hives, bad for keep you healthy.

The prednisone worked. I was blissfully hive-free for almost a week. As it wore off, I got a few hives, but nothing too bad, and I came down with a rotten cold. Better than hives. Until Friday.

Friday I decided to bake some cookies. And, since Bug is outgrowing his egg allergy, I made them with eggs. Easy recipe, by the way: box of cake mix, 2C of Cool Whip, 1 egg. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Anyhow, I ate one of the cookies. They were ok. And then, after I put the second batch in the oven, I licked the spoon and – bam! My lip swelled up. And then my eye started to swell. I took some Benadryl as any mom-of-a-food-allergy-kid would do and then the side of my face started to swell. So… what’s that? Egg? Weird preservative? Beta carotene? Who knows.

A few days later, back to hives (they were pretty bad that night, but they’re still lurking around) and it’s all a fun mystery. I’ll be calling the allergist again tomorrow…


  • Michelle Young

    my daughter was on a prednisone vacation for 6 years for auto-immune disorders. IT SUCKS, and it gave her osteoperosis, great for a 17 yr old. When she tapered off the stuff, she developed a sudden allergy to soy… as in she could eat tofu one week, the next she had a dressing with soy in it and her throat almost swelled closed. The next day (we didn’t know what had caused it) she had margarine (this is soybean oil based), and her tongue developed huge blisters. This was followed by allergies to grapes, carrots, avocados, peaches, nectarines and strawberries. Joy. For about a year everything had to be soy free, now, she can tolerate small quantities. Some of the fruits still irritate her.

    When you call the allergist, make sure you request an epi pen… these allergies (or whatever) can catch you by surprise, and an epi pen could be a lifesaver.

  • Christy

    Thanks for your comment. That’s awful about the prednisone. It’s really nasty stuff…. the scary thing is that she might have been allergic to soy all along through that process and wouldn’t have known because the prednisone would have kept her body from reacting to it. The epi pen is great advice. We’ve got one for my son (he’s allergic to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts), but of course it’s a child’s dosage.

  • Crabby McSlacker

    Yikes, that allergy vs. prednisone dilemma sounds like a tough one!

    But maybe you’re onto something now with that reaction to the cookies. The list of potential culprits seems smaller now. Wonder why the initial testing didn’t pick it up?

    Good luck getting the hives under control!