General Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is this an allergic reaction or something else? [Please read details.]?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23285 points ) October 1st, 2011

Sporadically over the last few weeks my face and ears become very flushed and hot, and start to itch. My health insurance does not cover dermatologists or allergists, so I would like to potentially narrow it down to one if possible, so that I can avoid breaking the bank over an issue that does not appear to be urgent.
I have a history of allergies, anxiety, and a skin condition that causes facial redness [KRPF]. I do not have rosacea.
I don’t think it is anxiety related, since it isn’t happening during the times I’ve had spikes in anxiety recently. I haven’t changed anything in my diet or skin products, but I don’t know how to rule out allergies, otherwise.
Is there some way for me to determine whether this is an allergic reaction or a dermatological issue, so that I can figure out what kind of doctor I might need to see about it? Or, perhaps something as simple as ultimately eliminating a [new?] allergen.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think your PCP can run a blood test for allergies. They should be able to help you narrow it down and figure out who to see (if anyone other than them).

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Really, they can do that?
I just assumed they would automatically tell me to see a specialist. Only because I’ve always been referred to an allergist immediately when allergies are suspected, I thought the scratch test was the only option.

JLeslie's avatar

Any consistency in time of day, or where you are when it happens?

How long does it last?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Well, I don’t know specifically about your PCP… but when I was having issues 5 years ago, they just drew some blood and ran some tests on it. I had hay fever and a slight mold allergy, but my new cat was not the culprit. My PCP prescribed me some Nasonex and showed me how to rinse out my sinuses, and it was 2 appointments total.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelflaed I really don’t know enough about allergy tests, but your GP might have been ruling out an infection more than anything with the blood tests. Not sure.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I haven’t noticed any consistency in the time of day, no. It lasts anywhere from a couple of hours to several hours. My gut reaction is that it’s an allergy. I’ve always been prone to hives and skin reactions to allergens, and this just has a similar feeling to it with the itchy irritation. Not that my method is exactly scientific, it’s just a suspicion.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JLeslie Well, it had a specific allergy blood panel, with all the possible allergens listed on the report, and if I’d tested positive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelflaed Interesting. I knew there are certain values that go up with immune response that can indicate allergies, but did not know about that panel.

JLeslie's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf It does sound allergic. Is your blood pressure normal?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

As far as I know, my blood pressure is normal. Unless that’s a very recent development. I’ll check it this weekend, just to be sure.
I have been under a lot of chronic stress for a long stretch of time now, who knows.

JLeslie's avatar

I only ask because you mention the flush. Good to be on the safe side and check. High blood pressure is so bad for us. Any other wierd symptoms you are having that seem unrelated?

If your pressure is high it could all be from stress, but if you are always normal I would possibly check your thyroid. But itchy skin and rash from thyroid usually lasts longer. I think your gut reaction is probably right, stress or allergy.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Well, the flushing is relatively normal for me. It’s related to my skin condition, I flush incredibly easily. The itching and burning, especially spreading to my ears, is not so normal for me.
I’ll look into it, though. High blood pressure at a really, really young age runs in my family.. even in otherwise healthy young people. So it’s not a bad idea to check it again just to be certain. My stress is through the roof, I can’t rule it out.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oh, and no, no other symptoms that I’ve noticed. I had a cold/sinus thing last week… but I think it may have been viral, because my husband ended up with the same symptoms a few days later. I feel better from that, though.

JLeslie's avatar

That much stress sucks. :( it probably is all related. And, now a new problem to ruminate about, oy. Sounds like the kind of luck I would have. I hope you get a quick answer and feel better.

Symptoms I was thinking like hair falling out, trouble sleeping, muscle or joint pain, etc.

Cruiser's avatar

Does taking Benadryl help alleviate the symptoms? Are you under any new stress? I got hives out of nowhere and an allergy test found nothing. Sometimes our bodies get a perfect storm of stressors, environmental attack with a food and or medication interaction that is almost impossible to detect the trigger.

Try and keep detailed notes on when, where, how long this reaction takes place, plus note any and all territorial influences…sights, sounds, smells. Maybe just maybe you will see a pattern. Good luck

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I haven’t tried taking Benedryl, but I wonder if it would help whether it is allergy OR stress related, simply by having a sedating effect. I’ll try it.
I’m not necessarily under new stress, but I have had a lot of stress, and it has been stirred up to an extreme again recently. Maybe it really is that simple.
I really will start paying attention to when it happens and what I was doing before and after.

Thanks much, everyone.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Well, right after this I went downstairs and took a Claritin ready-tab, which is non-drowsy. My cheeks are almost back to their normal pinkness and the burning has almost completely subsided.
That was much easier than I anticipated, unless it was a fluke.
Now to find out the cause.

Mariah's avatar

I have gotten enormous help from a dermatologist with my skin-based allergies. Seeing an allergist isn’t always necessary.

Kayak8's avatar

Don’t forget about food allergies and contact dermatitis. Stuff gets on our hands from daily life and is easily spread to scalp, face, ears, etc. without our really thinking about it.

Bellatrix's avatar

Could it be a hormonal thing too? Definitely get your BP checked though. Hope it is normal. Perhaps start to keep a log of when it happens and whether there were any potential triggers?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Kayak8 I have always been prone to contact dermatitis, that wouldn’t surprise me at all.
@Bellatrix I’m sure it could be. I am leaning toward an allergy since the allergy medicine seemed to have fixed it today, but if it happens again we’ll see if allergy medicine helps and it wasn’t just a fluke thing.

Cruiser's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Our foods and drinks are laced with various chemicals the FDA has deemed safe for the average human and under duress our bodies can differently and aggressively to these “safe” chemicals. I would take it easy this weekend and take note to what you do eat or drink, when and how you feel. I hope this passes soon for you!

GabrielsLamb's avatar

That could be lots of things…

Hormones, yeast, rosecea, contact dermatitis, you could have an infection and running a low grade fever that causes you to flush, could be mold or some other alergen.

Have you taken anything OTC for it? If none of the over the counter medications work, then it is time to go to the Dr.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther