Contact dermatitis, seasonal allergies, now asthma

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New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/10/2011 7:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the forum. I'm really here just to vent, I guess. And any advice is appreciated!

Allergies run in my family. My mom and two siblings have asthma, my two siblings have contact dermatitis, and my sister also has food allergies. I didn't have any problems until I was 17 when I slowly developed itchy oozey blisters all over my skin. It turns out it was eczema and contact dermatitis caused by an allergy to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like quaternium-15 and isothiazolinones, which turn out to be in EVERYTHING. After much trial and error I found there are only a few things that can touch my skin without me breaking out: Free & Clear shampoo by dermadoctor, cetaphil cleanser, vaseline, and alcohol based sunscreens like spray clear coppertone sport. I can't even use cetaphil lotion or vanicream lotion or sunscreen! I think either I am allergic to more things that were not on my patch test, or these products have unlisted trace amounts of preservatives. I'm also allergic to nickel and cobalt, but those are easier to avoid. I just avoid jewelry in general.

When I was getting my skin tests done I was also tested for food and environmental allergies. I don't have any food allergies (thank goodness!), but I was not surprised to learn that I am allergic to seasonal allergens in almost every season. These have also gotten worse as I have gotten older, but generally I can control them with flonase and claritin or allegra.

Four weeks ago things suddenly took a turn. I am very active - I love to hike and run outside even if it bothers my allergies. Usually I just make sure to have a bandana or something for the constant running nose. But a few weeks ago I went on a run and was started wheezing loudly. I still felt like I could breath okay, so I didn't think much of it. The next few times I exercised it got worse, until after one run I actually had an asthma attack! I almost went to urgent care because I was NOT breathing well, but luckily a friend had a rescue inhaler which helped me so I was able to wait until the next day to go to my regular doctor. When I went in he told my I had developed asthma.

Apparently it is very common for people with eczema and skin allergies to develop asthma. No one had warned me, though I guess it wouldn't have changed anything.

The doc gave me albuterol inhalers and pulmicort. I had an adverse reaction to pulmicort so it was actually causing brochospasm every time I used it. A week after my diagnosis I went back and I was much worse (peak flow had dropped 100 more points). Now I have switched from pulmicort to advair, plus I'm doing a course of prednisone, a course of azithromycin, and I have a cough suppressant because I was coughing so much it was making me puke regularly.

All the meds finally seem to be helping. So I am feeling less helpless. Hopefully I will be able to get back to running and hiking soon. The doc wanted me to wait until he can see me again at the end of the week to make sure my peak flow has improved.

Does anyone have a similar experience? I would be especially interested in hearing from people with similar skin allergies as me, or people with ANY advice on how to get my asthma under control so I can get back to normal.

Thanks for reading. I'm sure I'll be around more!

Post Edited (allergy_grrl) : 5/10/2011 6:42:36 PM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 5/11/2011 6:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to Healingwell. I'm sorry you are having such difficulties. I do not have asthma but my son does (or did, he outgrew it mostly) and everyone in my family has allergies - my daughter severely and has to carry an Epi pen with her at all times. We are in the process of trying to find out what my daughter is allergic to because she gets full body rashes at random times.

I can't really help you but hopefully someone will come along soon and give you some good advice.
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
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Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 5/11/2011 4:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Advair has helped me get stablized with my asthma. I take it twice a day and carry a rescue inhaler for emergencies. For severe times I use a nebulizer.

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/12/2011 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi allergy_grrl, being an adult-onset moderate to severe asthmatic, I can definitely sympathize with the asthma part.

Have you had Pulmonary Functions Tests yet (PFT)? From my experience, this is the only way to really diagnose a person with asthma. Plus, the Spirometry part of the test will give you your FEV1 (lung function) and it is sensitive enough to show obstruction of the airway too. Regular Spirometry testing is very helpful in making sure you are headed in the right direction and the meds are doing their job.

Yes, when I am flaring, my control meds can sometimes irritate my already irritated lungs more. I find using the rescue inhaler hour or two before taking my control meds sometimes helps.

I also suggest maybe seeing a pulmonologist if you can.
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