panic or anaphylaxis?

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percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 1/18/2006 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Folks,

I've not posted to this group before but am looking for as much realistic advice as I can get. about eight months ago, I had my first of what's since been called a panic attack. It happened while I was driving down the PA turnpike, about an hour after I'd eaten McDonald's candied walnuts. Seemed like my throat was closing and I got that tbody tingling you have when very scared or maybe going to pass out. I can't really call it lightheadedness, as I was able to keep driving for another hour and a half to the nearest ER, where I was given Benadryl and Tagamet.

The next day, I ate a Dairy Queen peanut buster parfait and didn't have a problem. For the next several weeks, though, I would , mostly in the evenings, have a sense that I couldn't breathe deeply enough. I went to the ER 4-5 times, and nothing was ever wrong - xRays, oximeter readings, etc. all came back fine. These problems went away from about September until January 1, when I started having them again. The worst was recently on a flight to Texas, when everyone around me opened their peanuts simultaneously. I smelled it and got scared, felt that I couldn't breathe deeply enough, and put on my personal pulse oximeter, which read only 89 - I could bring it up to 98-99 by deep breathing. I talked with a friend for about an hour and half and finally felt calm enough to sit down again.

My question is: how can I tell whether I'm just panicking -- and developing a peaut phobia - or whether I am having an anaphylactic reaction? I've never been allergic to anything in my life (40 years old).

I had a RAST panel done today and must wait a week for the results, but advice from folks who've suffered from real life-threatening allergies would be most helpful.

For what it's worth, my only symptoms with these "spells" are a sense of not enough air or maybe closing throat and also chill emanating from my heart through my torso. Frequently, I also burp more often during an attack, and I've certainly not eaten any nuts.

percycat

BraveJedi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 1/29/2006 6:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like you're thinking you're gonna react to nuts(like I feel I do at the moment) and so you are really going on 'alert" and looking for the slightest thing that might resemble a reaction. Happening to me at the moment because I had a biscuit. I have never had a problem with biscuits yet I feel like my throat is closing. It's been over an hour since I had the biscuits, and I am pretty sure anaphylaxis occurs almost immediately so my advice?

If, like me, you're now a lot more sensitive and panicky, have a series of skin prick tests done. Tell your Dr and Allergy specialist you are scared to eat certain things until you get the tests done. Also see someone for panic it WILL help eventually.

Stick to things you know don't provoke a reaction. I seem to react to everything at the moment and I too am not sure if it's just my immense panicky self or an actual reaction. I take one 25 mg prednisone and one clarityne anti histamine a day and still feel like this so please know that you aren't alone.

To be on the safe side, avoid eating nuts. So many things are made on the production line of nuts though that it's hard to not eat anything at all that's been made on a production line. Just stick to what you know you can have.

Praying can help and seeking help for anxiety and panic attacks can help you understand more aswell. I get pins and needles in my tongue and throat closing feels EVERY TIME nearly that I eat. I'd starve if I let it control me. I can't see a specialist until April 10th. I am very scared indeed but Praying helps a lot.

Get your GP to get you an epi pen in case you really do get into trouble one day. Better to be safe than sorry and also ,know you aren't alone.

Get those allergy tests done asap and meanwhile eat more safe foods that you know you can have. God Bless and Take care. :)

BraveJedi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 1/29/2006 6:33 AM (GMT -6)   
oh and also, when panicky your body produces more histamine, thus MAKING you more allergic so it feeds it all. So definitely get help for the anxiety as it does not help at all. God Bless!

Ceres
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 1/31/2006 7:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I have an allergic reaction to some kinds of hot peppers. You may say, then don't eat them. However, nowadays, it seems they put hot pepper spices in lots of things that are frozen or even fast food. Right as I'm eating this frozen type of pizza dough, I can start to feel my throat tighten. It's not a panic attack. I start to become aware that it's tightening and it remains like that for hours. It never closes up or anything so I'm not afraid it's anaphylaxtic. But I could understand how you would be afraid that it is anaphylaxtic. I also went to the ER many times just complaining of tightening of my throat.

I don't eat anything unless I'm almost 100% there is no hot pepper spice added to foods. So the key would be do not eat anything else that has those type nuts in them. I also cannot eat any shellfish. Booooo eyes

"Sounds like you're thinking you're gonna react to nuts(like I feel I do at the moment) and so you are really going on 'alert" and looking for the slightest thing that might resemble a reaction. Happening to me at the moment because I had a biscuit. I have never had a problem with biscuits yet I feel like my throat is closing. It's been over an hour since I had the biscuits, and I am pretty sure anaphylaxis occurs almost immediately so my advice?"

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 2/2/2006 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Ceres and BraveJedi,

Thanks for the advice. The results came back negative, but the allergist simply said they go by symptoms, not test results, so I'm scared again.

It seems that I can make the throat tightening go away with xanax, but I'm still afraid. These episodes come and go at all times - around food or not, at home, at friends', now even at work, and even asleep. It seems more like panic given the broad range, and teh fact that for four months, I had none of these problems, then -boom - they're back again.

ANyhow, wish me luck. *sigh*

-percycat

Ceres
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 2/2/2006 8:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I looked under throat tightening and found angioedema. At the Uof Maryland Medical Center site, it gives you all the information you'll need. But do see your doctor for this. smurf smurf

Post Edited (Ceres) : 2/2/2006 6:17:47 PM (GMT-7)


emmagrayson
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/16/2006 8:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I know what you mean about the panic - once I was having a reaction to seafood (the pans that previously held seafood were reused without being washed, just rinsed, so I didn't know I was being exposed!) - and the EMT's thought I was just having a panic attack!! I was given epinephren, which helped slow/stop for the time being, so they just thought I got all panic-y and over-reacted to the idea! CRAZY and did not help me at all. I understand I guess that maybe it presents that way, but since I couldn't tell them at that time of any exposure I had to seafood, they said that there was no way that was it!! (I was on an island!1)

Kat26
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/9/2006 9:57 PM (GMT -6)   
This has happened to me as well, with shellfish. I think that my food is contaminated and I freak out thinking I will have an allergic reaction. It is a totally irrational fear sometimes, but I can FEEL my throat closing over and I can't breathe deeply. This has been going on for the past 6 months, since I was diagnosed with my allergy to shellfish. I had a reaction after eating shrimp, and I had RAST testing done that came back negative. The doctor wants me to do a challenge test for shrimp and lobster where I have to eat it in the office to try to see if I will react. I am too scared! It sounds silly since the RAST was negative, but phobias (and panic attacks) are very real....if you have learned anything about this since posting your original entry, please let me know!

respiro
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/10/2006 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
 
There is a kind of lung test, I forget the name of it, with a methacoline challenge that can test for asthma.
 
I had that test, years ago, and that helped me to stop wondering if I just wasn't breathing right (I knew I wasn't panicking), especially, since for the most part, I don't wheeze. I have been told in the ER that my chest is "tight". 
 
Otherwise, try to relax and think of ways to avoid/get out of the situation, that can help your breathing, even if it is asthma.
 
As far as eating shellfish in the doctors office, if they suggest you do that, they will probably have plenty of medicines and treatment options to get you feeling well again. Look on the bright side, it will help you know one way or the other, and deal with it accordingly. Otherwise you are left with what-ifs and no treatment options.

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
nono mcdonalds & dairy queen?? sound like you and i have the same diet :-)   
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