Allergy Self-Testing | Food Allergies | Allergy

Self-Testing for Food Allergies

by Allergy Guy

Why Self-Test for Food Allergies?

While there are many tests for allergies , none of them are not 100% accurate. You may get false-positives. This means you will be needlessly eliminating food from your diet that you could very well eat. Who needs the extra stress and inconvenience?

You may get false negatives. This is far worse: it means that you will eat foods that you think are OK, but are not. It is much harder to realize that an allergen is a problem if a test wrongly “proved” that the food is safe for you.

Keep in mind that few people have just one allergy. Most people have several allergies to food and air-born substances. Eliminating just one of these items could make a huge difference, but then again, maybe not. You need to find all of the major allergens that are bothering you, eliminate every last one, then see you feel.

Let’s say that you get tested, and test positive for corn and negative to wheat. Corn is in a lot of food – it is a major filler and additive. It is a major hassle to eliminate. On the other hand, so is wheat – you will be glad you can keep eating that one! Now if the testing turns out to be inaccurate (and it really can be that inaccurate), you may find that you feel no better, and are having all this hassle eliminating all this food from your life, so you will eventually go back to your original diet.

Now lets say that you don’t get tested, but eliminate some of the most common food allergens from your diet. After a while you start to feel better. It is likely that some of the foods you eliminated are causing the problem. Congratulations, you are on your way to finding out exactly what to eliminate and what to keep on eating! Here’s how:

How to Self-Test for Allergies

The following procedure must be followed without cheating, or you will have a lot of inconvenience, but without useful information. This method only works if, when you eliminate foods, you eliminate all traces of the food all the time for the full duration of the test.

The following procedure refers to the list of foods to avoid. This is the list of foods you will be eliminating from your diet. Initially, it will include all of the foods you are testing. As you re-introduce foods into your diet, you can refine the list of foods to avoid, striking off those foods which do not cause problems, and leaving on foods that do.

  1. Eliminate all traces of every food listed in the most common food allergens list. Initially, this will be your list of foods to avoid.

    You must eliminate these foods for at least one full month for a truly valid test.

  2. Note how you feel over this period of time. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms and energy level to track your progress (or lack there of).
  3. If you are allergic to any of the foods on the list of foods to avoid, you should feel better by the time one month has passed.
  4. Introduce just one of the foods from the list of foods to avoid. We will call it the test food, the single food you are testing for allergy symptoms.
    Eat a very small amount of the food – about one tenth of what you would normally consider a serving.
  5. Wait up to three full days to see if there is a reaction. If you get any symptoms, you should highly suspect this test food food.
    Keep in mind that other factors may cause symptoms, such as allergens that are not on your list of foods to avoid, or even fear that this food will cause problems. If you experience symptoms, put the test food on your tentative list of foods to avoid.
  6. If you do not experience symptoms, eat more of the test food: double your intake from the previous test amount.
  7. If you find you have fully reintroduced the test food into your diet, and you still feel fine, you can consider it to be OK (at least for now). Add it to your tentative list of allowed foods.
  8. If you experienced symptoms from the food you just tested, allow your body to recover. Wait several weeks (it may take a month) for your body to feel good and relatively symptom free, before moving on to the next test food.
  9. Test the next food on the list of foods to avoid. This becomes your new test food.
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for each food on the list of foods to avoid.
    You now have a tentative list of allowed foods and a tentative list of foods to avoid. If you feel fine and have been eating all the foods listed on your list of allowed foods, chances are you now know what foods are OK, and what foods are not. It is now time to retest the items listed on your list of foods to avoid.
  11. Start the test over again for any items on your list of foods to avoid about which you are unsure.

Complications

The test outlined above is pretty accurate if you are careful to eliminate all traces of the test food from your diet, and if the symptoms caused by an allergy to a food are fairly clear. Sometimes it is not that easy. You may have allergies to other foods besides the common ones. It is also likely that you also have non-food allergies, for example molds, dust, pets etc. This muddies the waters as far as deciding if you feel OK or not.

You may have to wait longer than suggested for your body to recover between testing foods. The key is to feel good, before you can tell if a particular food makes you feel bad.

Cheating the Allergy Test

This test can be accurate over time, but it is not easy. You may be tempted to eat food on your list of foods to avoid, for example when you are a dinner guest. This may be unavoidable, in which case you must allow your body to recover by eliminating the allergenic food from your diet until you feel fine again. This could set you back for up to a month, so it is much better to do everything possible to avoid eating the food on your avoid list.

Another problem is that you may think you are eliminating all traces of a particular food, but it may be an ingredient in something you are eating without your realizing it.

Check ingredients of everything you eat carefully. If in doubt, leave it out!

Other diet-health effects
There may be a link between autism and diet.



What is your experience with discovering your allergies? Have you tried using the above method, or something similar? Did it help you or not? Share your experience and point of view, leave a comment!

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa November 17, 2010 at 16:12

So if you do the month long self test, what foods CAN you eat? The list of foods not to eat pretty much covers everything I eat. Any suggestions??

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2 maritza July 4, 2010 at 14:12

I am a 48 year old female. In June of this year I had an allergic reaction to something and ended up in the emergency room. I had hives covering my entire body, trouble breathing, swelling of my tounge and lips and dizziness. One week later it happened again. the only thing I had eaten on both days when i had the reaction was beef. Since then it has happened 2 more times. I went to my doctor prior to the last 2 events and she prescrbed an epipen, steroids and Benadryl. She does not believe it is an allergy to beef. Yesterday I ate pork ribs and had the same reaction. Can a person who has never been allergic to beef develop such an allergy and then become allergic to other meats?

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3 Allergy Guy July 4, 2010 at 15:17

Read the meat allergy article and comments and you will discover that:

People do have allergies to meat
People can develop them later in life
Your doctor is wrong (along with many other people’s doctors

Meat allergies can be triggered by a tick bite.

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4 Can acne be related to food allergy??? May 7, 2010 at 23:26

I am 36yrs old and i have acne since I was 17. Older I get the acne seems to get worse and worse. I tried everything and nothing helped. I heard that acne can be related with food allergy. I want to have a food allergy test but I can’t find a place who does the ” Elisa test” in Mi.
Did anyone have this problem?

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5 gwen May 6, 2010 at 14:31

Hi, I am a forty-nine year woman who has had eczema since I was a teenager. Each year of my adult life, I have experienced normal hayfever symptoms as well as dry irratated skiin. My skin problems have become very uncontrolable since I moved to the home I am living in now. I have lived here two years.

I get rashes all over my body, I scratch my hands and neck until I actually bleed. I have been to two dermatologists, and a allergy doctor in the past two years. I get regular allergy shots. I am allergic to grass, trees and many foodsl; according to the doctors. I have a cabinet full of medicines, creams, and many store bought products I have tried. I have had to get steroid shots every month; and have been on so many steroid regiments, I have lost count. I have had two biopises( my neck and wrist). I wash my neck at night before going to bed. In the morning when I wake at 6:00, my neck has a white ash on it. When I wash it again, it’s like washing dirt onto my towel. I am a black woman who needs help bad.

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6 Allergy Guy May 6, 2010 at 14:44

There are lots of different possible causes for eczema. Its a hard one to pin down (I’ve been fighting it too for a few years).

I worry about your heavy use of steroids – they are very hard on the liver and steroid creams thin the skin.

Try reducing (and eventually eliminating) sugar, see someone about dealing with candidiasis, and find out if your house has a mold problem.

I’ve been using $immunocal$ for a few months and my eczema is slowly getting better. I can’t be sure that the Immunocal is the 100% responsible but I think its helping. Also, eliminating sugar is a big help for me, although it may not be the same for you..

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7 Terry March 4, 2012 at 15:47

Could you be allergic to coconut oil. It is in almost all shampoos.
Switch to baking soda and vinegar.

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8 Trisha April 13, 2010 at 21:03

PS: And if I’m allergic to just about everything I’ve fasted from, what does that point to? As I said, I’m a thyroid patient, and also had symptoms recently of iodine deficiency (something I did to myself and is now being remedied). One last thing, when I started a new round of generic levothyroxine last summer, I had a few months of feeling very unwell and put on 10 lbs. I now realize No More Generic For Me.
Thanks again.

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9 Trisha April 13, 2010 at 20:49

Can you tell me in terms I can understand what “hypersensitivity manifestation” and “dysbiosis” are? My ND uses the terms, but I haven’t got my head around this. I guess I appear smarter than I am, because I’m just not getting this (and she’s out of the country for a month).

If cheese seems okay, but milk is not, should I avoid cheese too, if I want to clear up sensitivities?

Thanks very much for your help, I really need it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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10 Trisha April 13, 2010 at 02:00

I had bad reactions to several antibiotics recently, given to me for a UTI. That led me to see a naturopath, who had me get a food panel blood test. It turned up two pages of food that were varying degrees of positive – the ND was shocked; I wonder whether those antibiotics in my bloodstream were causing false positives. Anyway, I have never been aware of having food allergies. I have thyroid issues, fibro-like symptoms, but never had any skin problems, in fact have had excellent skin all my life.

I just spent two weeks not eating dairy, chicken, eggs, beef, lamb, rice and wheat (gluten generally). Now I’m supposed to reintroduce them one at a time.

I’ve tried rice (two servings last Friday) which gave me bloating but no pain or diarrhea, but a bit of nausea. On Sunday (I felt fine) I had some milk in my tea, Monday I drank 6 oz of milk also. Just the mild bloating, no nausea.

Is this a positive for allergy, or would I have something more dramatic?

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11 admin April 13, 2010 at 04:06

Hi Trish,

Allergy reactions are not necessarily dramatic, nor do the automatically mean you get bad skin reactions.

Also, not every food reaction is necessarily an allergy in the classical definition of the word. Often, people with food allergies feel kind of lousy all the time, but that becomes normal.

Certainly if your body feels better when you don’t eat certain foods, you are better to avoid them, if you want to feel fantastic.

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12 guest August 20, 2009 at 14:14

Allergy Symptoms

hi, I have been trying to find an allergy for some time now–assuming it is a food allergy. I get this horrible itching on the INSIDE of my torso right by my right hip bone (An allergist told me that my insides can’t itch, but it really itches!) I know it is inside but I still try to scratch it and will scratch the skin there red and sometimes bloody. My throat will also get itchy and the roof of my mouth will itch to the point I scratch it with my fingers and create huge sores that make it nearly impossible to eat. –I will get what seems like hives on the roof of my mouth. I also have problems with hives on my body, very itchy ears, and itchy swollen eyes. I ended up with so much drainage–this is how my doc explained it to me–that my throat filled up with pus and was in terrible pain. I am currently taking a prescription to clear that up. And very recently I am starting to feel like my tongue is swelling because it will start feeling uncomfortable to hold in my mouth. The thing is I was trying to lose some weight and I went on that Atkins diet and all of my sinuses and rashes cleared up, I was feeling great! Then I had a weekend where it was inconvenient for me to follow the diet a couple weeks ago and I had a terrible onslot of rashes and allergies that seemed worse than ever!

Is this all just coincidence or does it sound like a food allergy?

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13 admin August 20, 2009 at 14:38

Go with cause and effect

Allergy or not, if eating certain things causes you problems, and you feel better when you don’t eat them, then you are best avoiding them!

Certainly it could be allergies, food sensitivities, environmental factors you weren’t aware changed (exposure to mold for example) … or something else.

Keep a log of what you eat and how you feel, and see if there is a strong connection between diet and health.

Remember that it can take a day or two for effects to be felt, and weeks for them to clear up.

Good luck!

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14 Tom July 6, 2009 at 20:51

Lactaid

I started using Lactaid extra , yesterday, took two before supper. It helped a lil bit. Today, I took two before lunch, two before suppper, it was a little better than yesterday. I am assuming it takes a few days to get things resembling a normal day. I was quite ill shall I put it last week, so am assuming some healing is taking place.

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15 Tom July 4, 2009 at 20:31

Food Allergy

Last May 2008 , I ate some kraft mac n cheese, was as I found out later past due shall we say, it was leftover from previous meal, in fridge, a week I assume. I used to eat it alot a couple times a week. I found it did not digest well, loose stool etc. Anyways ever since , any time I eat kraft mac n cheese, I would virtually , need to get to washroom shall we say, I finally after months of wondering what is wrong, stopped eating it and felt better. But , still getting relapses from various times and they seem to be getting worse, note, I havent eaten the mc n cheese from kraft since, bloating , gas, urgent needs to go shall I put it. Thinking gluten allergy, I recently had a physicall, blood and stool tests. Came back, great except , I did not mention anything about gluten as I am just learning this stuff now.

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16 admin July 4, 2009 at 23:13

Could be milk products too

Hi Tom,

Don’t rule out a milk intolerance.

Processed foods use a lot of processed milk, which can be worse than whole milk products and unprocessed cheese.

Your symptoms are very similar to milk intolerance symptoms.

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17 Guest June 22, 2009 at 15:19

Allergy??

I have had a problem with hiccups for the past few years. I get them every day for the past few years and I have realized that it is generally after eating a meal. I dont know what could be causing it. I have been to many doctors and nobody can seem to diagnose anything. I have recently thought about whether it could be an allergic reaction my body has to certain foods. I was told recently it could be yeast and have started to try cut that out of my diet but there is no change so far. I want to know is it even possible that this could be an allergic reaction or am I looking down the wrong route? Although I am not ill with this I would love to be able to shed some light on it.

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18 Guest March 2, 2010 at 17:01

Forever Hiccuping

I have had the exact same problem I have hiccuped everyday for the past 3 or 4 years. Recently my sister was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease which means that she cannot digest Gluten and to help support her I cut gluten out from my diet as well and I haven’t hiccuped in days. This is amazing!! Maybe its something you could try.

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19 admin April 8, 2009 at 21:17

Adults developing alleriges

Hi kw,

Firstly, enjoying food and having an allergy to it are two different things.

Sadly, it is often the food we love best and eat the most often that we develop allergies to.

Adults do develop allergies they did not have as children, and are less likely to grow out of them than children.

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20 kw April 8, 2009 at 20:21

developing allerfies

i do not remember having any allergic reaction to any food. however in the past 2 days i have ate some strange foods and now i have been experiencing shortness of breath, itching , swollen lips and headaches i have no idea what did it. and i also want to know can you enjoy a food when you were younger and then after some years become allergic or intolerant to it ?

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21 meghna garg March 18, 2009 at 09:41

diagonosed with food allergy

last november i was diagnosed of food allergy. i’m allergic to at least 11 food items. my test showed that i’ve 94 times more than normal allergy. what i want to know is it is it normal for a person to be allergic to so many food items? another question can a person have such high level of allergy?

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22 admin March 18, 2009 at 11:50

Normal to have multiple food allergies

Hi Meghana,

It is normal to have more than one food allergy. Perhaps it is unusual to have just one food allergy.

When you say “a high level of allergy” – what exactly do you mean? What exactly was the test for?

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23 Guest March 12, 2009 at 14:07

grape allergy?

Quite by accident, we have found that my daughter (20 months) seems to have developed a grape allergy. She has only been eating grapes for a few months due to the choking risk. (Yes, we cut them up). She develops a rash and diahrrea and is uncomfortable (cries when she’s sleeping). I would have never put the two together, but it’s the only newer food introduced, and only food that seems to correlate with the symptoms. Also, the grapes are not digested at all. I’ve never heard of this, there hasn’t been any severe effects, but I’m worried that it one day could happen if there’s grapes or something in another food. Any thoughts on this?

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24 admin March 12, 2009 at 23:12

Try reintroducing grapes later

I can’t give you a definitive answer to this.

It doesn’t sound like an allergy, although it could be.

It could also be that she has trouble digesting grapes for some reason.

The symptoms don’t sound too bad, from what you have described, so you might want to wait a year or two and then see how she does with them.

For a definitive and medically sound opinion, please ask your doctor.

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25 Guest March 18, 2009 at 23:18

I think my daughter, 14

I think my daughter, 14 months, might be allergic to grapes as well. She develops an awful red rash around her mouth after eating them. She’s been eating them for a couple of weeks, and only yesterday did the rash appear. She would occasionally get small red bumps around her mouth, we thought it was from drool or her pacifier. Her rash was horible today and I put Vaseline on it, and have only been cleaning it with a warm, damp rag. I am going to call the Dr. tomorrow to be safe, but I have read online that grape allergies do exist. One website mentioned the yeast that grows on grapes, and her rash, surprisingly, looks like a little yeast (diaper) rash she had on her bottom months ago. Anyway, I’m not a Dr., but if I were you, I’d look into the grape allergy thing a little more. I know I am! Hope it helps for you to know others are dealing with the same issue!

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26 Guest April 26, 2009 at 23:25

grapes

i have had problems with grapes also. i was getting alot of gas from eating them. But i found that wasn’t the case with all grapes that I ate.
I am wondering if it is the pesticides that they put on the grapes that could make them difficult to digest and cause the reactions described by other readers.

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27 admin April 27, 2009 at 11:35

Try organic

Try organic grapes.

The book “Diet for a Poisoned Planet” (forced off the market by the pecticide lobby apparently) explains that because of what grapes are srapyed with, they are very toxic.

Organic grapes are a smart choice.

Now if you stick to organic grapes and never have a problem, then you can assume pesticides were the problem.

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28 Anonymous November 19, 2008 at 22:58

whitelist/blacklist

why is the good foods list the “white” list and the bad foods list the “black” list?

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29 admin November 19, 2008 at 23:20

allergy white list black list answer

Good question!

I borrowed the words from the world of telecommunications, internet servers and email.

A “blacklist” is a list of phone numbers, emails etc. that your server is programmed to ignore.
A “whitelist” is a list of phone numbers, emails etc. that your server is programmed to accept, even if it refused all others.

Now that you mention it, I realize these terms are too technical and not everyone would know what I’m talking about.

I’ve changed it to “list of foods to avoid” and “list of allowed foods”.

Thanks for the question!

Any other questions that help clarify this article are most welcomed.

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30 Itchy October 10, 2008 at 08:19

ONGOING RASH/ FOOD ALLERGY?

I have had an ongoing itchy rash for 1 month. I think it started when I wore a new pair of shorts and my legs started to itch. Ever since then it has slowly progressed to my lower legs, arms, abdomen and lower back. No rash on feet or hands or face. It has diminished some- I went to my internal medicine DR. who put me on prednisone for 5 days. It went away then came back, i went to a dermatologist who wanted to put me on prednisone for 10 days, but I stated I’d rather not. I washed all my clothes in fragrance free detergent, I have only been using fragrance free soap and lotion the last 3 weeks. I hadn’t changed anything in my diet recently. Now that I’ve been reading more on gluten intolerance I realized that in the last few months I’ve had loose urgent stools, more odorous than usual. I cut out some of the gluten because the itching would get worse after I had meals with a large amount of bread. I honestly am unsure if this type of rash could be from a gluten intolerance (I read that the rash is more patchy and contains fluid filled blisters). Please help if anyone has any ideas! The bumps on my skin are very small- and red resemble scarlet fever rash when they are “irritated”. Can gluten cause this type of rash?

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31 admin October 11, 2008 at 21:50

Could be eczema

What you are describing sounds very much like eczema. This probably a symptom rather than an actual disease. If you ask me, it is just a label doctors use when they don’t know what is causing the problem.

It could also be a rash caused by gluten or wheat.

Dermatologists tend to go for a band-aid solution (prescribing steroids) rather than trying to find the underlying cause.

Try cutting out wheat and gluten completely. It sounds like you are having luck with your symptoms when you reduce gluten, so that is a good sign.

Wheat is most commonly found in our diet as flour – a refined carbohydrate. Refined carbs, along with $sugar$, fuels $yeast$ overgrowth – one possible cause of eczema.

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32 cat September 12, 2009 at 10:03

gluten allergy with a rash

i too had this iriitating itchy rash on just my left shin. doctors were useless in the treatment. i developed a chronic dry cough and throat congestion and saw a pulmonologist. only after an emergency room visit for severe abdominal pain and associating it with the use of the new benefiber packets did an allergist make a suggestion that it could be gluten/yeast allergy. when i stay on the diet i have no cough and controlled rash, if i have wine or deviate off the diet i struggle. it was confusing to “develope” an allergy at 44 but the allergist said i probably had been missed diagnosed all my life with sinus infection, irritable bowel and premenstrual syndrome when i should have eliminated the gluten. i too im rapidly loosing weight, have no more chronic fatigue symptoms and clear skin. the human body is amazing.

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33 Suzy February 22, 2009 at 09:22

Gluten Allergy

Wow! I have been dealing with this since Nov of 2008 and have been to the doc twice.It just don’t seem to go away just very little.The Doc put me on some steriod cream which easied it a little then he put me on Aluminum latate cream which really burns bad but helps the nasty rash ease a little.I have it on my hands and clear up to my elbows but no where else.I notice I itch after anything with flour.As my mother has this gluten allergy the Doc says this isn’t that.I have scedualed a appointment with a dermatoligist and hope to get to the root of this.It drives me nuts.I have patches that are red and very tiny blisters that bust and ooze.I put these creams on and it clears up the irritated spots and new blisters come out around the edge.I will let you know if this is what I have after I get to this dermatoligist.Thanks this did help a little!

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34 admin February 23, 2009 at 12:02

Gluten Allergy Reply

Hi Suzi,

Thanks very much for your comment.

My response became so long, I’ve made a new article out of it.

Please read Skin rash, doctors and gluten for the response. Feel free to leave comments there as well.

Hope that response helps,

-Doug

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35 s hall May 23, 2011 at 15:44

check to see if you have Lichen Planus. Dr.s do not know much about it. go on line. good luck

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36 Allergy Guy May 23, 2011 at 17:42

Lichen Planus seems to be a symptom, like eczema, than a cause, like allergies. Accordingly, it is treated to cover up the symptoms and provide relieve, rather than deal with the underlying cause.

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37 Ron April 9, 2008 at 06:00

trying to get insurance after being diagnosed

Just diagnoised with Asthma,allergies etc. and trying to find insurance. I am self employed and finding NO good coverage and they wont cover the asthma/allergies or anything related for 2 years. Anyone have any luck??

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38 Anonymous March 20, 2008 at 10:13

allergies

my ten year old daughter has been complaining of headaches, sore tummy, itchy skin, exhaustion and tiredness. she is very cranky and easy to upset. she is vegetarian. do you think she has food allergies or aneamia, will a doctor do tests ?

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39 admin March 21, 2008 at 15:18

Could be allergies, but don’t assume this

What you describe could be an allergy, or food intolerance.

This website can not provide medical advice, for that you must see your doctor.

Doctors, however, are weak on this sort of thing. By all means, take your daughter to see the doctor. If the doctor can provide helpful advice, great. If not, you can ignore what ever they say about food intolerances, unless your doctor just happens to know more than the typical medical school and pharmaceutical line.

As far as food allergies go, follow the advice above to see if you can locate the problem. Elimination is the most effective test: either it helps or it doesn’t.

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40 Anonymous November 7, 2007 at 12:54

Wheat free and dairy free diet

When our daughter was about 18 months old she was a doll and then would turn into this awful child in a matter of minutes. We did a food diary and activity diary. We (meaning my family who were also my caregivers help) determined that wheat was the main contributing factor. She loved to eat shredded mini wheats and within 10 minutes she would be horrible (she would take off all her clothes, scream, kick, bite and there was no way to console her). She also had itchy blotches on her arms (near her elbows). Whenever those areas would get red and really itchy she would be horrible to deal with. My doctor suggested the food elimiation diet and it was not easy as my husband and I both work full time and had an older daughter as well. We elimiated wheat and dairy from her diet and ours pretty much for 1 year. In children the doctor said she would probably out grow it as she got older. She luckily for us did for the most part, but even now (she is 8) knows when her stomach hurts she needs to back off any pasta, and bread (which she loves) and cut back for a week or so until she feels better. The dairy was the easier to give up for us as there is such a variety of soy milk out there and it doesn’t taste to bad. Hope this helps some other parent, who maybe feels like I did. Like I said it was not easy, a plus to this was that I lost 20 pounds in keeping with her diet, and I learnt how to cook, bake and make a variety of foods taht are gluten free and I still use those recipes today.

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41 admin November 7, 2007 at 22:37

Thanks for sharing that

Thanks for sharing that story. It might be easy for some parents in the same situation to just think that they have a badly behaved child.

Your story is all too common. It sounds like you ended up with a more healthy diet for the whole family which is definitely a plus. I guess you were happy about the weight loss too!

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42 Michele December 6, 2008 at 01:33

wheat free diet

Wow, your story about your daughter caused me to reply because she has classic signs of Celiac’s disease which 1 of 133 American’s have. The blisters on her elbows is a big sign. You should look into it and have her tested immediately because if she continues to eat wheat products she could be sustaining continued and irreparible damage to her small intestine and will not be absorbing nutrients correctly. Good luck.

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