Should I Get Allergy Testing

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by Itchynscratchy on Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:41 pm

Should I Get Allergy Testing

Hi There,
I have suffered on and off with excema since I was about 17. I get patches of it in random spots all over my body. Some repeat, some I get once, have for a bit and then they go away.
Right now I have a patch on my left eyelid (has recurred since 17). I have patches all over the backs of my hands and on my inner wrists. I have a couple of smaller patches on my calves that flare up arbitrarily. I also have chapped lips and patches a the corners of my mouth.
For the whole summer, I had nothing. Then the fall hit and whammy. Nothing seems to help. I have Elidel for the patches on my face and Prevex B for the other patches. The problem with that being that the dermatologist told me that if I get the Prevex in my eyes I could cause Glaucoma. Like I need that on top of the rest of this. I don't like using the Prevex because of the patches on my eyelids. Since I would be putting the Prevex on my hands and backs of my fingers, it would be too easy to get it in my eyes with my itchy eyelids.
Regardless, I do seem to get flare-ups this time of year so I am wondering if it could be related to a pollen in the air right now. I have tried taking allergy meds, but they don't seem to have any effect. I was wondering if I should get allergy tested.
I can't seem to relate my flare-ups to any type of food, stressor or anything else. There never seems to be a rhyme or reason. I have had a very bad patch on my shin that has been there 3 years. Now, with everything else flaring, this patch seems to be going away.
Oddly enough, I went swimming on Friday and my patches on my hands seemed better on Saturday. This implies to me a topical problem like a fungus or something that the chlorinated water helped.
Very odd stuff, very annoying and terrible for the self-confidence. I'm a Real Estate agent and it's hard to look good when your face is all red and blotchy. Not to mention itchy.
Take care all and Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

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by itchyhippy on Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:02 pm

Re: Should I get allergy testing

Hey there
It may be worth getting alergy tested. espacially if the onset of your eczema wasnt until you were 17. it could be something that you came into contact with that your body reacted to. Its always useful to know - even if nothing comes up at least you know that its not allergy related and you can go ahead and treat it as normal eczema.
In response to what you said about the time of year, i always find my skin gets worse as soon as the weather gets colder. The winter is always the worst time cos my skin gets so dry, i have to moisurise all the time, then it gets better in the summer.
Anyway. hope this helps somewhat x

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by admin on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:47 am

Re: Should I Get Allergy Testing

Hi - thank you very much for your posting in the forum. Until Friday, we are running a joint NHS Choices/talkhealth forum where we have 4 experts answering patient's questions - two specialist dermatology nurses, a dermatologist and a clinical allergist. As you know, many patients with eczema never get to see a specialist so this is a really fantastic opportunity to get concerns and questions answered.

I have, therefore, copied your question over into our NHS Choices forum. I'm sure other eczema patients will want to comment on your post, but it would also be advantageous for you to get some advice from our experts. I hope you will find their comments helpful.

Many thanks
Deborah Mason
founder talkhealth
talkhealth team
Read our health blog -

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by Dr_Antony_Crockett on Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:15 pm

Re: Should I Get Allergy Testing

You have my sympathy. Perhaps this answer may help.
ALLERGY TESTS - it is interesting that your eczema (atopic dermatitis) is worse in the fall. This may be due to changes in skin blood flow secondary to temperature changes, or it may be due to allergy, especially to moulds and trees. I would certainly see if you can get some skin prick tests or blood RAST tests to moulds, trees and house dust mite. If you have any pets, get tests for those too. Keep yourself pleasantly warm; loose cotton bedclorthes and avoidance of feather pillows are best; avoid fabric cnoditioners and biological washing powders and all bath additives. Use something like aqueous cream as a soap substitute, pat dry after bathing or showering, and moisturise freely. I would do all that every day, even when your skin is good.
As soon as you get a flare up, use your steroid cream as directed by your doctors or nurses, and continue until you are better plus a few days.
Another reason that your eczema may be worse in the fall is that the humidity in your home and office may drop dramatically when the central heating is working. Try a humidifier at home to see if that helps and turn the heating down a little.
Prevex B (betametasone) is a low-medium potent steroid cream. It is true that frequent or high quantities of steroid creams accidently applied to the eye may rarely induce cataracts, but this is unlikely if you just get the odd bit of cream in your eyes, so don't worry too much about getting cataracts. Prompt use of the Prevex B on the body and Elidel on the face is much better, starting at the first hint of the eczema starting uo again and continuiing until after it is better. Doing this will work much better than waiting for the eczema to get really bad and then using irregular or too small amounts of the creams.
Keep your skin moist at al other times, applying the moisturiser at least twice a day and after a bath or shower. Eat a healthy mixed diet but don't exclude food groups such as dairy produce unless you have found doing so makes a dramatic difference.
If you also get asthma or rhinitis (hay fever), make sure these are well controlled too as poor control of one trype of allergy will lead to worsening control of any others.
I hope this helps but please get back to me if I can help further.
Dr Antony Crockett
GP & Hospital Practitioner in the Respiratory Medicine
Certificate in Advanced Study in Allergy

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by meme on Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:13 am

Absolutely stumped!

I have suffered from eczema all my life, I am 27 years old.

But it has changed in past year - I used to mostly have eczema at back of hands, forearms and back of knees but now is spread all over my legs and thighs, torso, chest, arms, and back and palms and can be very painful (sharp pulsing pain when itched). My GP is keen to help but I don't know what to suggest! The GP gave me an antihistimine as thought it looks hive like but I feel this is not helping (only making me tired and Loratadine isn't supposed to make me drowzy!) I used copious amounts of emolliants and steroid creams- My GP has taken me off most of these as is concerned i'm damaging my skin and to try just emoilliants. I have never had allergy testing, is it worth doing and if so, how would I organise this?

I feel my self esteem is totally knocked by this.

Meme. :cry:

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by tomgood on Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:19 pm

Re: Absolutely stumped!

Hi Meme,

Sorry to hear about your eczema getting worse.

This actually sounds very similar to the progression of my eczema. It is absolutely horrible. It got to the stage where my skin was so inflamed I was losing moisture and heat through my skin. Just couldn't get warm - hot water bottles, duvet, etc..

Anyway - I'm currently halfway through "curing" it for the second time. I've told my story a couple of times already on the forum, so forgive me if you've heard this before.

I was in a similar position to you, in that my GP could suggest nothing other than emolients and steroid creams. Emolients made it itch worse than ever. Steroid creams seemed to clear it, but once I stopped, the eczema was there worse than ever.
My GP actually said that there was nothing that medical science could offer at this point.
I was convinced it was something to do with food, and I found after much effort and research that all these allergies seem to stem from the same source - gut function.
Specifically this sort of atopic eczema/dermatitis seems to be linked with overgrowth of a particular yeast - Candida - within the gut.

Candida thrives on sugars and starches, and by eliminating these from the diet it's possible to get the gut function back under control - cultivating the right mix of good bacteria within the gut.

A number of diets exist which promote this style of eating, anyway - Primal and/or Paleo (not raw Paleo - that's a bit much for me!) or even the Atkins diet as it now stands.

You could try a couple of tests - my eczema would flare up far worse after a sugary/starchy meal. It might be worth keeping a food log for a few days.

The problem comes when you start fighting back against the Candida, however. As the cells die off, the toxins from the yeasts are released into the body, and it can make symptoms worse for a few days. Also - the process is slow - it can take several weeks to get fully under control.

There's a fair bit of web-searching to be done on the subject, but don't be seduced by the dark side... There are a lot of people offering quick Candida fixes. In my experience, there isn't one.

After completely ridding myself of eczema once, along with shedding 3st of excess weight and various other ailments, this time I'm on the Paleo diet for life.

Best wishes,


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by HurtUnit on Tue May 10, 2011 6:11 am

Re: Absolutely stumped!

Hello Meme,
I am very sorry to hear about the eczema and possible allergy that may be worsening your condition. We cannot provide you with medical advice however, I would suggest you speak with your GP and perhaps they may refer you to a Allergist or Dermatologist that specialises in allergies. I would personally get tested for allergies myself, but that is my opinion only and not to be taken as advice. You may want to explore our other site also for additional information.

Wishing you the best
Dr.Tony M. BSc. MD
Forum Moderator
talkhealth moderation team

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