Last summer (2008) and this summer, as wild blackberries become ripe in my area, I have experienced the appearance of painful bumps on my palms and fingers. There is often severe itching of the palm and/or fingers. There is significant pain associated with the raised, reddened bumps, very similar to that caused by an imbedded thorn or splinter deep under the skin. However, there is no puncture, nothing embedded, and no fluid or pus associated with the bumps in any way. Left untreated, the bumps and itch will ebb and flow, and old bumps subside as others emerge. There are NO other symptoms, and no rash or redness on the backs of my hands or any other part of my body. I have experienced this reaction even without approaching or touching (to my knowledge) actual blackberry plants or fruit. I spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer months, and it is possible that there may be other causative factors. I also spend a lot of time indoors and/or in an urban environment, on roughly 1 week cycles, that is, one week with exposure to undeveloped, wooded areas, and one week in a city, in buildings and cars. During the "urban" periods, I have essentially no exposure to plants, dirt, animals, etc. However, during one of the "urban" periods, I ate two (2) ripe blackberries from a buffet, using utensils to pick up and eat the fruit. Within 2 hours, the reaction on may hands occurred. Presenting this ailment to my physician, he diagnosed hives, prescribing Loratidine (Generic Claritin) 10 mg once daily, and Mometasone (Generic Elocon) .1% cream for once daily application. I am not sure of the effectiveness of the cream, but I believe the antihistamine has eliminated the symptoms, although I had to go to 20 mg per day to get control. My questions are: Why would this reaction occur deeply under the skin of my palms and fingers and nowhere else? Is it really hives? Is there some way to verify the specific trigger, should it not actually be blackberries? I would appreciate any feedback on the etiology, and/or any references to other conditions that might be involved. Thank you.
Try researching cross reactions. You'll find that many of these berries, such as raspberries, for instance, have a natural chemical called Xylitol. This is the same natural chemical found in birch and is what you would find in a health food store as a natural sugar substitute. Since I know birch is a true allergy, I don't mess with xylitol natural sweetener, because it's often made from birch. I have histamine intolerance, so my GERD is aggravated by things like raspberries and blackberries. It was an important discovery for me when I discovered that the reason raspberries bothered me so much is because they naturally have xylitol in them. This is the reason why Benadryl works for me if a food reaction triggers my GERD--histamine intolerance.
Yes, what you're describing sounds a lot like a form of hives. You can get them by touching the substance in question, such as contact dermatitis, or you can get hives when you eat them. It is best to avoid eating them or touching them from what you've described, because some people develop anaphylaxis, which can be very dangerous.
I forgot to mention that you can get some of your allergies tested and verified with skin scratch tests at an allergist's office. But, be aware that if it's a sensitivity or intolerance, the test may show negative for allergy, even when you definitely will have a reaction to the said substance. This happens with me. I test negative for lettuce, spinach and dandelion greens, yet I will definitely have a reaction and will get nauseous and vomit if I try to eat any of these things.
Doing cross reaction research for myself, I discovered that all three of these greens are in the same family as the sunflower, marigold and calendula. For me, not a pretty sight, since I developed contact allergies to these plants. Calendula oil is supposed to be healing to the skin, but I didn't know that it was so closely related to marigolds, which I knew I was allergic to ever since I was a little kid. I learned the hard way that they're all too closely related. I burned my lips using calendula oil products. For most people, calendula would be a blessing for soothing skin. For me it turned into a curse.
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