Having allergy symptoms to new things, even in winter. What to do?

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Hi. I recently moved to the Frankfurt area and seem to be having non-life-threatening allergic reactions to something new. I'm not sure what, and with winter fast approaching it's even getting worse. I have seen many doctors have "allergist training" next to their specialties, but every time I contact one they say they can't allergy test me. Is there a specific doctor I need to go to? Is this just bad luck? Has anyone else had weird allergic reactions when they first moved here? I lived here for 3 months in 2019 and didn't have issues, but now that I'm here permanently (5 months now), I have annoying random allergic reaction symptoms. Any help would be appreciated. I have public insurance. And sorry if this topic is elsewhere, I didn't seem to find a forum with the same questions.

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Supposedly you can get an allergy test from a dermatologist or if it's breathing related, from a pulmonologist.   Just keep trying.  Have they given any reason why they can't do a test?

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1 hour ago, cali_girl said:

Has anyone else had weird allergic reactions when they first moved here?

 

Yes.  The region I'm from (Pacific Northwest USA) has not terribly dissimilar weather but vastly different flora.  I was an allergy sufferer back home too, but they were seasonal, and fairly predictable.  The first couple of years I was here I reacted differently and sometimes violently to changes in the seasons, my body was completely confused by what it was dealing with and I felt so terrible sometimes I was convinced I had an actual disease.  The doctor told me the insane coughing fits was just pollen, which was a totally new reaction to pollen for me (I had always had classic hay fever symptoms of sneezing and watery eyes).

 

Since each new season seems to bring something new (including being indoors more), and even the contents of dust can vary wildly from region to region, I simply take an OTC antihistamine every_single_day.  I take this brand of Cetirizin (sorry for the amazon link) in the morning and don't experience any noticeable side effects or drowsiness.  The only downside is that I start itching when I don't take it for a while, but I don't know if that's a withdrawal reaction or because the medicine has stopped blocking my reaction to dust (I get hives from dust and mold particles). It's recommended to take it at the same time every day and also to remember that it doesn't start working immediately, the body has to get used to it.

 

Every person is different but taking it daily for several years now has enabled me to not have to pay any attention whatsoever to the changes of the seasons.  I'm allergy-symptom free for the first time in my life; whereas spring used to be pure hell for me, I hardly even notice it now.  On really heavy pollen days I sometimes get the odd sneeze or two, but that's it.  Rashes and hives completely gone from my life.  So I'm happy with it and can recommend.

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Funny you mention this. When I first moved to Frankfurt in mid 2018 I got a full body rash in the summer which remained for a good 4-5 months (till around October). it was so itchy that I could not sleep properly and was literally going crazy. It went away after and came back in February the next year and remained until I went back to my home country. I saw a dermatologist, who didn't give me a decent answer but told me to buy loratadine (an antihistamine) and take 4 times the normal dose. Which helped a lot but made me ridiculously dizzy for the first week. This year I got no reaction but I also took an antihistamine prophylactically. In my case the dermatologist told me to do an allergy test when the allergy settled down... I planned on this month honestly, but covid kind of ruined that. I try to minimise my doctors visits now unless necessary. 

 

What you could do is take pictures. See if you can get an online appointment. There are some offices offering video appointments through for example doclib. If the appointment is far, you could go to a local pharmacy and ask for a small package of an antihistamine and try that for a week (at the normal dose of once daily). 

 

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There are many, many reasons for allergic reactions. You definitely need to test it. Could be food allergy. For example for me that was the case. Could also be issues with the water, dust, mould, etc.

Antihistaminic is not a long term solution, at least for high dosage.

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3 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Antihistaminic is not a long term solution, at least for high dosage

 

who said anything about high dosage?  I know a lot, really a LOT of people, who, like me, take antihistamines every single day of their lives.  Not really that big of a deal.

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8 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

There are many, many reasons for allergic reactions. You definitely need to test it. Could be food allergy. For example for me that was the case. Could also be issues with the water, dust, mould, etc.

Antihistaminic is not a long term solution, at least for high dosage.

The high doses are definitely not to be taken without a diagnosis and under the recommendation of a specialist. They have a specific indication and are generally safe and well tolerated. Again, I only share MY experience. It isn't to be taken as medical advice. Some allergies are simply unavoidable. How do you avoid dust? A lot of people take antihistamines daily and need to do to function. Besides anyone who shows up with an allergy at a pharmacy is typically urged to make an appointment and try an antihistamine for a week while waiting for an appointment. 

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Keep in mind that antihistamines will distort results from an allergy test and the drugs must completely leave your system before you can obtain an accurate allergy test. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, SpiderPig said:

Can you define "Allergy"?

 

Red blotchy skin.. Itchy eyes... Scratchy bum... swollen lips/eyes etc...

Red, itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing, random itchy red rashes (but no bumps) and eczema patches now. Overall, just itchier in general. And this is on top of my daily antihistamine

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1 hour ago, Narjiz said:

Funny you mention this. When I first moved to Frankfurt in mid 2018 I got a full body rash in the summer which remained for a good 4-5 months (till around October). it was so itchy that I could not sleep properly and was literally going crazy. It went away after and came back in February the next year and remained until I went back to my home country. I saw a dermatologist, who didn't give me a decent answer but told me to buy loratadine (an antihistamine) and take 4 times the normal dose. Which helped a lot but made me ridiculously dizzy for the first week. This year I got no reaction but I also took an antihistamine prophylactically. In my case the dermatologist told me to do an allergy test when the allergy settled down... I planned on this month honestly, but covid kind of ruined that. I try to minimise my doctors visits now unless necessary. 

 

What you could do is take pictures. See if you can get an online appointment. There are some offices offering video appointments through for example doclib. If the appointment is far, you could go to a local pharmacy and ask for a small package of an antihistamine and try that for a week (at the normal dose of once daily). 

 

I actually take an antihistamine (left over from the states, CVS brand zyrtec) every day and still get these symptoms. I would like to not have to take an antihistamine every day

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1 hour ago, LeonG said:

Supposedly you can get an allergy test from a dermatologist or if it's breathing related, from a pulmonologist.   Just keep trying.  Have they given any reason why they can't do a test?

I'll have to keep trying doctors then. A lot say they aren't taking new patients and some just don't respond to the question, since I am also seeking appointments for other issues. I'm taking advantage of having good health insurance now that I'm here and getting things checked out that should have been checked out a while ago (gotta love the US healthcare system)

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1 hour ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

who said anything about high dosage?  I know a lot, really a LOT of people, who, like me, take antihistamines every single day of their lives.  Not really that big of a deal.

He said 4x the normal dosage...

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1 hour ago, Narjiz said:

Some allergies are simply unavoidable. How do you avoid dust?

I do avoid dust. I´m very sensitive to dust but found ways to avoid using antihistaminics. Of course this means a lot of cleaning, air filtration system, HEPA vaccum cleaner, no rugs, beds that can be cleaned underneath, etc...

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11 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

I do avoid dust. I´m very sensitive to dust but found ways to avoid using antihistaminics. Of course this means a lot of cleaning, air filtration system, HEPA vaccum cleaner, no rugs, beds that can be cleaned underneath, etc...

 

You can also get sheets for your bed that lock in the mattress / pillow etc.  My dermatologist ordered them at no cost to me.

 

45 minutes ago, cali_girl said:

I'll have to keep trying doctors then. A lot say they aren't taking new patients and some just don't respond to the question, since I am also seeking appointments for other issues. I'm taking advantage of having good health insurance now that I'm here and getting things checked out that should have been checked out a while ago (gotta love the US healthcare system)

 

I didn't suddenly experience new allergies when I moved here but a few years later.  I'm getting hives or a rash off an on.  My dermatologist suggested I might be sensitive to dust.  When I asked her about food allergies and a test, she responded that she doesn't think I have an allergy to common foods like milk, eggs etc. but that I am sensitive and should stick to less processed foods.  So far I haven't managed to figure out the cause.  My brother gets a rash from certain detergents and I know a woman who is allergic to a food dye.  It took her quite a while to figure that out.

 

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48 minutes ago, cali_girl said:

Red, itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing, random itchy red rashes (but no bumps) and eczema patches now. Overall, just itchier in general. And this is on top of my daily antihistamine

My teenage daughter had several of these issues. We live near to Frankfurt though I don't think that’s relevant.  Over the last few years, her eczema got worse during the summer time. Dermatologists didn’t really help and at her last appointment, was told to just use her gut instinct as to which topical cream or allergy tablet will help.  She used cetrizin daily for a while though the effect seemed to lessen over time. To get through her Abitur, her Hausarzt recommended a 2 day big combination of 2 antihistamines over a weekend as  that made her drowsy.  It did seem to work for a few weeks.


Allergy tests done by dermatologists and Hausarzt over the last few years showed that she did have various tree and other pollen allergies though not cats or dust.  She recently moved away from home to study and has absolutely no allergic type reactions! Food allergies were never tested as various doctors suggested that she would be showing more significant reactions if food allergies were the cause.  Since moving, she has changed to a vegan diet. Maybe that has helped? Also, she’s generally adopted natural ingredient skin and hair products and home cleaning products.  One doctor suggested she diarise everything she ate and products she used...personal hygiene, cleaning products etc to evaluate reactions.

 

Do you have pets? Were any in your accommodation before you moved in? Even if you never had any pet allergies, some can affect more than others. Of our 5 cats, my daughter only reacted to one. Can you possibly stay somewhere else for a few days to see if there’s any difference? I know, that might difficult in corona times.  
 

 

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2 hours ago, emkay said:

Since moving, she has changed to a vegan diet. Maybe that has helped?

Why? Most meats don´t give any allergy, but many vegetables do. You are most likely to suffer allergies from vegetables than from meat of fish.

 

Quote

Also, she’s generally adopted natural ingredient skin and hair products and home cleaning products.

One life changing product for me was a sulfate-free shampoo. I had rash on the scalp frequently until switched to this one:

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/gp/product/B00OKSKDKK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Vast majority of shampoos have sulfats, which cause skin irritation. Paraben-free is also advisable in general, but sulfat-free was the big change.

 

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38 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Why? Most meats don´t give any allergy, but many vegetables do. You are most likely to suffer allergies from vegetables than from meat of fish.

 

One life changing product for me was a sulfate-free shampoo. I had rash on the scalp frequently until switched to this one:

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/gp/product/B00OKSKDKK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Vast majority of shampoos have sulfats, which cause skin irritation. Paraben-free is also advisable in general, but sulfat-free was the big change.

 


No idea about food allergies and intolerances other than some obvious ones...nuts, shell fish, lactose etc.  A friend used used to say she had a nitrate allergy caused by additives in meat...mainly processed meat I believe.   She also swore that sulphite/Sulfate (not sure which) free products helped her tremendously...including sulphite/Sulfate free soaps, shampoo and wine!

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I too have allergies, mostly to scented products. If I have to use a towel or bed sheets washed in  detergents with perfume I get red and itchy all over, and get a headache .  All my soaps, shampoos, lotions and so on must be fragrance free. 

I also react strongly to aftershaves ; why oh why do - mostly young - men pour it on by the pint?  Hairsprays are likewise "breathtaking".

I sometimes get itchy bumps and rashes from stress . @cali_girl,  could it be that you feel stressed by the move? I don't mean that that could be the sole reason, but maybe it's a contributing factor?

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