Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm Ready For My Bubble, Doctor

Good grief. I thought I had reached the limits of absurdity in reacting to the river & tap water in Colorado. But no, that would be too easy. I now can provoke my typical allergic reaction (swollen lips, throat, itching...) by going into a room with a lot of chemical fragrances. This is really beyond the pale. Here is the the scenario:

Thursday: ran out to the car in the rain, stopped to pick up a friend who was walking home in the downpour. Drove about 5 blocks with her. I opened the windows so that all the perfumed lotions etc. she was wearing would not give me a headache. Drove 5 more min. to cafe to meet A. I was getting the reaction warning of tingling in my lips, but ignored it because I had not had anything to eat or drink for several house, so it could not possibly be a reaction. Yeah. Right.

When I sat down, A. looked at me and said "What happened?" I was getting Elvis lip (right top lip puffs up faster to give me that lovely look.) I chugged some benadryl and we tried to figure out what had gone wrong. The only things I was exposed to were rain and perfumes, none of which I ATE. So we just chalked it up to a delayed reaction (I typically react w/in .5 to 20 min after exposure), and didn't think more about it.

Yesterday I went to pick up a friend at the car dealership and went into the office with her for about 5 min. There was a strong chemical/fake floral smell that was making my eyes water so I went outside to wait for her to finish up. As I sat outside I was feeling increasingly anxious, for no obvious reason. When she came out, she looked at me oddly and asked if I was okay. I didn't think anything about it till I got in the car and realized that I was getting duck lips. Ugggh. I had not eaten or drunk anything for at least several hours. I did not touch the fragrance sources, and was not directly sprayed with anything. I thought I could drive us home, but I had to pull over and swig down a bunch of benadryl as my throat was getting tight and itchy.

So, what is the DEAL! I'm having my typical corn reaction to something in the AIR?? Reacting to the water is not enough? I've done a little reading on fragrance allergies and the main type is a contact dermatitis, which I don't have. Here is a basic explanation of the physiology of the reaction.

"Irritant reactions to fragrances differ from allergies. In most allergic reactions, the body reacts to an allergen that it perceives as a harmful invader by triggering the cells of the body to release certain chemicals. These chemicals, such as histamines, trigger allergy symptoms.

Unlike most allergens, fragrance materials are not protein-based, and they are generally too small to be detected by the body. Instead, they act as a hapten, binding with proteins in the skin. As they do so, they modify the proteins, causing the body to perceive the proteins as a foreign substance, thus triggering a reaction."

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. Do I have to cary a filtering mask with me or only go to open air/environmentally responsible places from now on or just stay home? I can't take benadryl without needing a nap, so I'd rather look like bizarro woman in a mask than be groggy or sleep through the day.

Could I possibly get a new body? Maybe have a brain transplant? I am throughly sick of being sick and sick of being me.

[EDIT: I've done a little more research and a lot of fragrances are carried in a corn alcohol base and as I get more sensitive, I guess I react to smaller quantities of corn. meh.]

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