Allergies - Food Community
Random Food Allergies
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Random Food Allergies

I  have a problem I call my random food allergy.  Once in a while, as I'm eating, I'll realize that my jawline is starting to tingle/itch.  That will be followed by my face swelling and turning red, hives inside my cheek popping up, nose running, and my throat will close up slightly.  It can be set off by things I've eaten before and I have no problem eating them later.  Recently I have had a couple of things that seem to want to set it off again, but not consistently.  This has been going on for about 9 years -- started suddenly.  I went to an allergist a couple of years ago who ran tests, and informed me that I'm not allergic to anything (never mind that I can't be in the same room with live flowers and perfume stops my nose up).  I've never been bothered by animals (or food, until now).  The allergist I saw (that I'm not sure about) told me that it was being caused by the act of chewing but that I'm not actually allergic to anythng . . . .

When I have an attack, I try to stop eating as soon as I notice it's happening, I'll drink a lot of cold water and take Benadryl, which seems to help.  The iffy allergist gave me an epipen (which I thought odd, since he said I wasn't allergic) but it expired and I never replaced it because it didn't seem necessary.

The things that have set off the reaction have been very varied.  One time it was a pasta dish that I ate every Wednesday for lunch, and one week it set it off.  One time it happened when I was eating plain potato chips and drinking grapefruit juice.  Our cafeteria has a vinagrette dressing that set it off once and now doesn't quite set it off but causes the initial tingling (but stops there) and I've stopped eating it.

It won't happen for a long time, and then it may happen off and on, irregularly for a couple of weeks to a couple of months.  Any ideas?
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Avatar_f_tn
  Well, it sounds like food allergy to me, but the inconsistency is curious. There are delayed hypersensitivity responses, that can take 2 or 3 days to show a reaction, but you said months, so...
Perhaps a visit to a rheumatologist would be helpful, to test for an autoimmune condition.

You are having a histamine reaction to these foods, so I understand your reaction to the vinagrette and grapefruit juice. You could contact a nutritionist and ask for an IgG Food Antibodies test. The Metametrix Lab website has a lot of info on tests and allergic reactions. This is a different type of testing than your typical allergist does. It may be worth looking into.
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1343146_tn?1279334243
It is possible to develop allergies to certain things after repeated exposure.  Ive never heard of chewing causing rashes or hives.  You should see a different allergist and take in the specific foods that you are having reactions to and let him/her do a scratch test on you with those foods.  Most allergists have a list of common allergies that they test for.  They do not have a full list of every food out there.  When I worked for an allergist, if a person thought they were allergic to something that was not on the list, we had them bring the food in and would do a scratch test from there.  I would get a second opinion and try to be tested for the foods that you are having a reaction to.  I hope this helps you out.  Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you both.  My rheumatologist (who is very good) has no answers. My endocrinologist (also very good) doesn't .  I do have Hashimoto's, which is autoimmune, but I had it for several years (was diagnosed at 30 even though at that time they didn't think people that young would have it) before this started.

Unfortunately, I can't take the offending food(s) in to an allergist, because I almost never react to the same thing twice, and I don't know when I'll react to what.  Grapefruit juice has never been a problem again, and I eat any number of other vinagrette dressings or vinegar on fries, etc.   As of right now, I haven't had a problem in probably two months.  And it's obviously not a delayed reaction -- I start eating, my face starts to tingle and itch, if I stop then and drink ice water it stops, if I keep eating it gets worse.

Yeah, I thought the whole chewing thing was a crock -- and this allergist is supposedly one of the best in DC.  I really had the feeling that he didn't know and was making something up.  Several people independently recommended him, but the office was poorly run, they actually forgot about me in an exam room for about a half hour, and when I talked to him after the tests he kept interrupting to take calls, etc.  

I also find it ironic that none of the usual food allergies ever sets it off -- as far as I remember I've never had nuts or eggs or chocolate cause it.  I do have a slight reaction to a small number of certain things -- strawberries, cantalope, pineapple, bananas, oranges, tomatos, and walnuts -- but its a different reaction, they just cause my tongue to get sore, like I've burned it.  And its just those things -- grapefruit doesn't do it, for instance -- and it isn't bad enough to make me not eat them.
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1343146_tn?1279334243
Do you buy your food from the same place each time?

Im a little worried about the tingling in your face.  You might want to see a neurologist to see if this is anything neurological.  I have trigeminal neuralgia which is a nerve disorder that occurs in the face and it causes tingling, numbness and pain.  Im not sure if it causes all of the symptoms you are explaining, if it does, I have never experienced them.  

Glad you havent had a problem in about two months.  Hopefully you will not have anymore problems.
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1343146_tn?1279334243
Sorry I dont know why it says "To:  Good to hear from you"  LOL
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Avatar_f_tn
   Maybe you are reacting to the phenols in the food? You could try something like Houston Nutraceuticals No-Fenol enzymes, or another good enzyme blend. I've read that autoimmune disorders and enzyme deficiencies often go hand in hand. Just a thought.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks everyone.  Some interesting ideas that I hadn't thought of (which is why I posted!).

@aldunn -- no, I don't think it's ever food from the same place.  It certainly isn't the same foods.  The tingling is simply along my jawline and is the precursor to itching -- I'm not even sure that "tingling" is the right word.  

@enzymelover -- I'll look into that. Thanks.
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1365752_tn?1277950997
Hi.  I've heard of people experiencing extreme inconvenience because of something they are and that they immediately assume that was a food allergy.  I think it's really important that you check it with your doctor because although many people have adverse reactions to certain foods, most are caused by food intolerance and not a food allergy. Food intolerance can cause some of the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy, so people often confuse the two. The best is really to see your doctor.  I've had experience mistaking food intolerance with food allergy before, and my friend recommended "Histame" capsules and it really helped me a lot.  It relieved me of the headaches, and other symptoms that caused me too much discomfort.  You can check with your doctor about it.  This is just a suggestion.  Your doctor's still the best to ask.
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