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PostPosted: 04 Aug 2014, 10:58 
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Hi Everyone,

Really hoping someone out there can help – here's my story:

I met my boyfriend 6 months ago when I started a new job and have been having allergic reactions to contact with him ever since.

To begin with it was awful. The first time I stayed over at his flat I woke up at 6am with a swollen hand / arm (the side I'd been sleeping on), swollen eyes and a severe rash all over my face. I was having difficulty breathing and so we went to A&E. They said I was having an allergic reaction (most likely to a product he used and was in contact with my skin whilst I was sleeping on his pillows - a hair product or washing powder was their suggestion) and I was given oral steroids to take.

The reaction calmed down over the next 24hrs after I'd got home and showered / washed my hair and face... but for the next few weeks every time I came into contact with my boyfriend (even if we were just stood next to each other!) my skin would flare up again and I would feel faint and nauseous. If we kissed, my skin would break out in a rash all over my face and neck. I even had to go back to A&E again after a cuddle in the office kitchen.

Like I said, we assumed it was a product he used that was causing the reactions and he stopped using his hair gel / aftershave etc. straight away and bought the same shower gel / shampoo / conditioner that I use myself.

I have always had very sensitive, eczema-prone skin but had never had such a bad reaction to anything before - not even close. This reaction was causing a dry, inflamed rash, with hive-type bumps, as well as causing my usual mild eczema (on my hands, back of my neck and elbows) to flare up quite badly.

My GP referred me to a Contact dermatitis Investigation Unit and I had patch testing against all of the products my boyfriend used regularly (washing powder, hair products, face wash, etc. etc.) but NOTHING showed up as a positive allergen. Since then the hospital has not been very helpful in getting to the cause of these reactions and have basically told me there is nothing I can do, prescribing me steroid creams to 'manage' the reactions. I find that steroid creams simply make things worse, thinning my skin and making it more susceptible to damage.

In the 4-5 months since my patch testing the reactions are certainly getting less severe (I guess it's just building a tolerance slowly), but have changed in their characteristics. I always still have a reaction on my face (sore, dry skin around mouth and dry, inflamed patches on my cheeks)...but sometimes it's my hands which get really sore, sometimes my legs and arms break out in bumps (which itch like crazy and scar), occasionally my earlobes swell up and feel sore, and on several occasions I have experienced an allergic reaction inside my * after sex (swollen and sore for a few days afterwards, we don't use condoms so it can't be latex).

This has been effecting my life every single day for 6 months now and, although my relationship is strong and loving in spite of this, I am FED UP, tired, my confidence is shattered, and I have become a constant worrier. Things which should feel natural and normal for a new couple (being physical, holding hands, kissing, planning trips together) are all tainted by these reactions.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before?! I have spent countless hours doing research - some people have noted being allergic to someone's natural skin oils?! - and I feel like we've tried everything and keep hitting a wall. I've changed my diet, cutting out dairy, alcohol and sugar as best I can, try to get 8 hours sleep a night and reduce my stress levels. But nothing helps.

Any help / advice / support would be GREATLY appreciated,

Warmest Regards,
Hannah


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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2015, 14:57 
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I'm so pleased to read your post. I think I may be experiencing the same problem. I've never had hives and itching so badly before and really hope it won't be a relationship stopper. My bf does have feather pillows and duvet...I had server reaction aged 9 to feathers - I'm 48 now and managed to avoid feather bedding for nearly 40 years!
However, my intimate physical relationship only started on Monday, then again Tuesday by Wednesday I was covered in hives (bed with feathers only shared on the Tuesday). I've been on antihistermins since Wednesday which is helping to easy the swellings. I saw him again last night - Friday, and this morning covered with hives again plus the itchy throat, swollen lips. (Not near any feathers) I do need to monitor this and like you will need to go through the list of products he uses. I'm quiet embarrassed too. I've been looking on Internet that seems to suggest more contact is needed to build immunity.


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2015, 11:11 
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Thanks for the reply Pixie789, sorry you're having issues as well!

It would seem that the most likely candidate would be the feather bedding if you've had reactions to that previously (however long ago!). I would get your boyfriend to buy new non-feather bedding and get rid of his old ones right away. He could also give all of his clothes (nightwear especially) a wash to remove traces that the feather bedding may have left. I had to ask my boyfriend to do the same and it's not that much to ask really if it's causing you so much irritation and stress.

I would also advise going to your GP as soon as possible and getting a referral for allergy testing. They should be able to test you to feather bedding (so you can be sure), along with all your boyfriend's products (cosmetic and household... don't leave anything out as the tests are expensive for the NHS and most likely you will only get one chance).

Hope you find a solution!

Best,
Hannah


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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 14:52 
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Hi,

I was just wondering whether you ever got to the bottom of this? I'm experiencing similar symptoms. Itchy rash on my face whenever I see my boyfriend (worse at his house but still happens at mine). It's been getting progressively worse. I've never been allergic to any products before so I can't understand why i would have started now?

Thanks,


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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 15:06 
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Hi,

I'm afraid I didn't ever get to the bottom of it. The reactions started happening less and less over time but by that point I had started using topical steroids to treat the reactions. Unfortunately my skin had an awful reaction to the steroids - please visit itsan.org and DO NOT use any steroids to treat your skin - they do not help at all, they will only make your skin worse. You need to try and get to the bottom of the reactions instead of suppressing the symptoms. I cannot stress enough how I wish I had never used steroid creams.

Some ideas; (make sure both you and your boyfriend do these!)
- change to natural cleaning products (Ecover etc)
- change bedding to 100% cotton and buy anti allergy duvet/pillows (allergybestbuys is a good website to buy these from)
- use only natural products on your hair/skin/nails etc. Naturisimo and LoveLula are good websites that I buy my products from.
- get allergy testing done by a dermatologist (patch testing) and by your GP (blood tests for IgG and IgE allergies)
- try and see a naturopath who may be able to uncover any underlying conditions that could be fuelling the rashes
- try deep breathing and yoga to de stress (I know how awful this situation is)
- if you are allergic to any foods make sure your boyfriend isn't eating them
- think about your relationship and whether you have any anxiety or uncertain feelings about your boyfriend, it could be your body having a reaction to your emotions (I no longer react specifically to my boyfriend but sometimes when I'm annoyed at him or feeling insecure in our relationship my face will get itchy again when we kiss)

I hope any of that can be of help to you - sorry this has happened!


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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 15:29 
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Dear Hannah,

Thanks so much for the quick reply and thorough advice. I am getting patch tested in a few weeks and I will look into replacing my cleaning products. I've already swapped out all his and my shampoos/shower-gels and his for ones that I know I don't react too. I'll definitely look into those other brands too though as well as methods to de-stress.

Unfortunately I also went down the topical steroids route and deeply regretted the decision. They made my skin turn bright red (even worse than the original rash). My dermatologist prescribed my oral steroids, which has eased my symptoms, and I haven't used topicals in 6 weeks or so. Bizarrely they only thing I have found that helps is sudocream (as far as I can tell there are no particularly worrying ingredients in there). It dries my skin out but it really helps with the redness/itchiness.

How long did it take your symptoms to die down? It's been about 5 months now for me of on and off reactions.

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 15:41 
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I'm sorry you had the same reaction to the topical steroids! Awful isn't it, makes me so angry that doctors prescribe them with no thought to the damage they can cause when used for longer than a few weeks. I also had two courses of oral steroids.

Well done you for giving them up though!! I used them for two years before I realised that my skin was getting worse BECAUSE of the steroids - I've been off them for 10 months now and am doing soooo much better. I'm sure it won't take you as long to bounce back from the steroids as you haven't used them for as long - please do visit itsan.org for more advice and tips.

These are the products I have found really good for my skin;
- Acure shampoo and conditioner
- Odylique aloe Vera shower gel
- pure Shea butter
- Egyptian Magic cream (mostly made from olive oil and honey)
- lavender essential oil (to help sleep)
- cold showers and ice packs (eases the itch)
- coconut oil and tea tree oil for any cuts or deep scratches
- Jason PowerWhite toothpaste
- Wearing only cotton clothes, and nothing too tight or too hot

Best of luck to you, please reply on here anytime you want to ask a question or anything! Xxx


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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 15:51 
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Dear Hannah,

Thanks again for all the suggestions! This is so helpful. I'm sorry you had to go through it but it's really comforting to know I'm not alone in this bizarre reaction.

And yes - terrifying about the topical steroids and the way GPs dish them out for everything. ITSAN was what actually made me stop using them and had a few sleepless nights wondering if my skin was going to look like this for years. Hopefully it doesn't go back to how red it was once my steroid course ends!

xxx


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PostPosted: 07 Nov 2016, 11:00 
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Dear Hannah,

Sorry for the multiple messages. Not sure if this will help you but I just wanted to post a treatment I'd found.

I occasionally work with some dermatologists and last week one of them noticed my rash and had a long chat with me about my symptoms and topical steroids. Anyway long-story short, my rash has cleared a bit on oral steroids but still hasn't gone and has been staring to get worse again now my medication is reducing it's been getting really itchy and uncomfortable again.

I talked to my dermatologist acquaintance about all of this and they told me that they really don't approve of the use of topical steroids either for a variety of reasons. Instead they recommended that I ask my GP for either protopic ointment 0.1% or elidel cream. These are both non-steroid alternatives that are prescribed when steroids are counter-indicated or when a rash is on a place like the face or neck.

So I went back to my GP, who prescribed the protopic and even though it's only been a few days my rash is already clearing and the awful itching has stopped.

I realise you may not want to go down the topical medication route again after everything you've been through, but I thought I'd share this with you just on the off chance.

Best,


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PostPosted: 26 Jan 2017, 01:46 
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Joined: 13 Jan 2017, 22:18
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I was having problems with my bf too, he switched to a natural shampoo and beard oil (this one beard oil, and it helped clear up some of the allergies I had been experiencing while sleeping with him. Hope this helps.


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