What are you allergic to?

Inspired by this thread.

I know a lot of people with allergies, especially the more common ones like cats, dogs, pollen, peanuts, etc., but sometimes I’ll hear about an unusual allergy. My mom is allergic to grass (I’ve heard of “outdoor allergies” but never specifically grass) and I have a friend that can’t eat leafy greens. He’s the only person I’ve met with that problem and luckily he hates vegetables.

I have a mild allergy to avocados that’s gotten worse over the years. I don’t like them anyway, but they’re all over the damn place! Sometimes I won’t realize they’re in a dish or sandwich until it’s too late. I can’t pick up a pre-made sandwich from Whole Foods because of that; I inspected their sandwiches more closely after the first and only time and saw that every single variety had avocados, but they aren’t mentioned on the labels. I couldn’t see them on the sandwich I did grab and thought I was safe, until my throat started to close up.

So what about you? Any uncommon/unusual allergies or interesting stories?

Morphine. Which I discovered about 2 hrs after waking up from surgery. Luckily I was in the hospital at the time :smiley:

I have a friend who has the most unusual allergy I’ve ever seen. He is allergic to protein. If he does anything to rev up his metabolism (exercise) after eating he has a severe allergic reaction. Naturally this means that he’s chosen to be an amature athlete. When he’s training he regularly goes hours without eating.

Some ingredient in some soaps I’ve never figured out. Mr. Bubbles gave me hives when I was a kid, so if I wanted a bubble bath Mom would use dish soap.

When Lever 2000 was new I tried it and got horrible hives. Some liquid shower soaps give me a mild rash that doesn’t even itch. I use Dr. Bronner’s now and no problem, but I have no idea what the ingredient is that causes the allergy.

I get some mild contact dermatitis from dirty short-haired dogs, especially terriers.

And antibiotics in the -cillin and -cycline families give me hives and pretty awful diarrhea.


It’s an antibiotic. Gives me hives.

mangoes :frowning:

I’m not sure if it actually counts as an allergy, really. I looked it up at some point and found something about how mango is related to poison ivy. So the skin causes a rash in people who are especially sensitive to poison ivy.

That would seem to be what’s happening, though I’m not especially sensitive to poison ivy (that I know of. I haven’t done any rigorous testing). My lips and cheeks swell up when I eat a whole mango and get red and painful. It seems like it should be a very common thing, but I’ve never met anyone else who gets a rash from mango skin.

Hmmm. As far as I know, all fresh fruits except for citrus and apples. I used to be allergic to them all, but I started seeing an allergist a few years ago, and skin tests showed that I was no longer sensitive to citrus and apples. I was overjoyed - I hadn’t had any fresh fruit to speak of for close to 25 years. Also tree nuts, a very common food allergy.

Also allergic to fur and feathers, which means anything that has those. Oddly enough, I can tolerate siamese cats, and lived with a couple for a year. My sister had a big orange tomcat that would turn me into an itching mucus factory within 10 minutes, though.

Pollen, trees, grasses, all that stuff. When the nurse was checking my skin test reactions, she actually said, “You’re allergic to a lot of stuff.” Four shots a week for over two years have helped soooo much. I should finally finish all my shots by late summer.

Most ant bites and mosquitos will give me a welt about 4-5 inches across. Mosquito bites will fade in about half an hour if I don’t scratch, but the ant bites linger for days.

Drug allergies are codeine, sulfa, and the quinalones (levaquin and cipro). Codeine and levaquin make me puke and puke and puke. Sulfa is a lovely full body rash that requires a steroid course to clear up. Cipro I put down since it’s related to levaquin, and my mother had the very bad cipro side effect of tendon breaks.

Luckily, I don’t seem to have any life-threatening allergies. That I know of. Yet. You never can tell. But my allergist doesn’t seem to think I need to carry an epi-pen, so I see that as a good thing.

I am sllightly allergic to my cats; I have to wash my hands after touching them. I think I’m also developing an allergy to bananas. Lately I’ve been experiencing a sort of constricting feeling in my throat that starts about halfway through the banana. I hope it doesn’t get worse; I like them.

Penicillin causes me to become sensitive to artificial colors for about 2-4 weeks. If I do ingest any, I break out in hives.

I am also allergic to Korean soju. Even a sip or two will cause flu symptoms for 2-3 days afterwards.

I am allergic to mangoes too. They have always made my mouth burn like fire if I eat them, and I get a rash. I don’t think it is just the skin for me though, because even peeled ones give me a rash. I also don’t seem to be super sensitive to poison oak, so I can’t explain it.

I am also allergic to pineapples. Same reaction.

Grass and trees. Not cats. I was tested.

Chicory root, apparently. You’d think I would never contact the stuff if I lived outside of New Orleans, but it’s used in a lot of high-fiber baked goods these days. Sometimes it’s just listed under “inulin” (not a typo) in the ingredients list.

I didn’t have a positive skin test for it, but there’s a high false-negative rate, and my allergist said it was too dangerous to try an oral challenge based on my increasingly strong reaction with each exposure. My skin would get hot and red (but dry, not sweaty) starting around my mouth and spreading over my face, down my neck, then down the trunk and arms, plus my heart rate would increase. I went to a tech in my department who used to be an EMT, and she gave me Benadryl, which dealt with it. This happened twice before we narrowed the problem down.

Nickel, which I didn’t find was that uncommon until I was about 22.

I used to think I was allergic to stainless steel because if any steel object would touch me for long enough, I’d break out into a horrible rash, so I have to be careful and make annoying modifications to my life. The allergy is the nickel, which is part of stainless steel. Yes, for nickel allergy sufferers, that means no cheapie costume jewelry just for fun, means pay attention to what the watch buckle is made of, because a rash on your inner wrist would suck, means sewing cloth over the little metal button on your jeans, because it touching your flesh induces rashes, no earrings from Claire’s, it means being a conscientious drunk, because passing out with your pants on might mean your belt touching your skin all night, and waking up looking as though you’ve been attacked by angry fire ants.

Ready for The List?

Tomatoes, peas, lentils, oranges, barley, peanuts, corn


Something outside, I think it’s a variety of grass or weed. Not goldenrod anymore, or ragweed - I finally outgrew those. It only took 40 years.

Levaquin (antibiotic)

I actually keep a list of these and symptoms they provoke, along with the medications I use. When I go to a new doc I just give him or her a copy. Saves a lot of time, though half the time they look at me like I’m psycho.

Let’s see:

Grass, pollen, trees, ragweed, mold, etc. If it’s green & grows, I’m probably allergic to it. Thanks to the mold allergy I also have issues with mushrooms & blue cheese, both of which I adore.

Dust, pet dander (generic, but not cats).

Peanuts, yeast, potatoes (white, not sweet), tomatoes, and corn. Corn is the real PITA because so much corn syrup is used in stuff.

Penicillin & Avon Skin-so-Soft both make me break out; Skin-so-Soft gave me full-blown hives that lasted for 3 weeks. I no longer will buy any Avon cosmetic product because I have no idea which ingredient was the problem.

Thankfully, at this point, these mostly increase my snoring. I occasionally get eczema breakouts. Sometimes, if I eat too many "bad’ foods, the inside of my mouth feels raw, like it’s burned. Rarely, I start coughing and/or exhibit asthma symptoms, but that hasn’t happened for a long time.

I really should get a new Epi-pen.

Adverse reactions to drugs can be allergies or other types of hypersensitivities which are immune-mediated, or they can be side effects.
Interesting article with chart on types of reactions

Nausea and vomiting can be caused by opiates (e.g. codeine) and antibiotics (e.g. levaquin) as a side effect, not necessarily an allergy. Side effects can be treated with other drugs or weighing costs and benefits of the drug (e.g. if you really needed opiates for pain), whereas doctors are more cautious with allergic reactions because they can, without warning, progress from a mild case of hives on one day to full-blown anaphylactic shock at the next administration.

I am pretty sure I’m allergic to Levaquin. The second time I had to take it last year, I took it right before bed and woke up the next morning covered in a rash (I also had the worst headache of my life). It gradually went away with Benadryl.

I have general seasonal allergies. I have noticeable itchy eyes, increased congestion, etc., on days when the tree pollen count is high. However, I was negative to all of the skin-prick tests this winter for trees, grass, etc., so no allergy shots for me.

I had a lot of ear infections as a kid and at some point was put on a sulfa-based antibiotic for a long time, several weeks or so. Then I got hives. No more of those for me.

I nearly freaked out an optometrist once, who on his way to get eye drops for me, stopped at the door asked me again if I had any drug allergies. He got the most horrified look on his face when I told him and told me he’d get a different one than he’d gotten up to get. I think he was more upset than I was, though I must say the idea of sticking stuff that gave me hives in my eyes is pretty ghastly. I do read labels; once I got some samples of some NSAID-type pain med that in the small print said “Do not take if you are allergic to sulfanilomides.” Damn. I admit I took a dose before I saw that, and I was quite peeved when I read that, because that stuff made pain I didn’t know I had go away. At least I didn’t have any reaction to it!


Make me vomit.

Pisses me off. I really like mushrooms. Used to eat them, no problem.


Besides pollen and dust, my kind of odd allergy is mosquito bites. They swell and blister horribly and take days to go down, and they can cause severe bruising. It started in my mid-20’s and my doc at the time refused to believe that they were mosquito bites.

Now, I’m just very careful and if I get bitten I put a lot of Benadryl cream on the bite–it still swells and blisters, but not as badly. The sooner the cream goes on, the better.

My grandma was allergic to mosquito bites - they’d swell up to 6 inches or so across.

Huh, if I ever see a doc to get tested for different allergies, maybe I should ask about that. I remember having problems with stainless steel earrings when I was a kid. My earlobes would swell up and get itchy and hurt, sort of like an infection, but other earrings were just fine. It never occurred to my mom that I could have been allergic.