What was this weird medical reaction?

For the past two weeks, I’ve had a bad case of poison ivy. It’s calmed down a lot, although it still itches occasionally. I noticed a lot of coughing and feeling like my throat was going to close up when I was around a lot of dust and pollen, which doesn’t usually happen to me.

This morning, my arms felt itchy. There was a small bug bite on one, although I’m almost 100% sure it wasn’t a wasp or bee sting (I don’t even remember getting it.) In any case, it had been there at least overnight. I kept scratching, and they kept getting itchier and itchier. I happened to turn around and see myself in the mirror, and I was BRIGHT RED FROM HEAD TO TOE. It looked and felt like a terrible sunburn, except that it was blotchy.

I started to feel very weird, spacy, and dizzy. I made it into the other room and picked up the phone, holding it and trying to decide what to do. Suddenly, I realized that my heart was racing at what had to be 200 bpm, although all I was doing was standing still. And I couldn’t breathe.

I knew this was not good, breathing being pretty important. My finger was actually on the 9 button when I realized that I would have to pay for the ambulance and hospital bill myself, none of my deductible having been met. I could breathe again, so I stood and waited. Over the next few minutes, everything went back to normal.


Or at least an urgent care/walk in clinic or call your doctor.

Oh, and BTW…Anaphylaxis.

I’m not a doctor, but this is the first thing that popped into my head.

I know you may not have any money to spare (but hospitals can usually put you on a payment plan for $50 or so a month), but notice it says that it can cause death in a few minutes.

You would rather risk dying than pay a couple hundred dollar bill? Go get checked out !

Are you still OK? Yes, you should go to the hospital immediately when that happens. If you cannot pay, then they’ll still treat you, and you can make itty bitty payments* each month, or you can ask about charity care. Do not ever skip the ER in a lifethreatening emergency because of money.

It was a pretty clear anaphylactic reaction to something. That’s allergy taken to it’s extreme end. It’s now very important to get into a doctor and figure out what it is that you are now literally deadly allergic to. These reactions tend to get worse with every subsequent exposure, and you need to have an Epi-pen (available by prescription) on you at all times in case you get exposed to whatever it was again.

*Truly itty bitty. Just keep telling them you can’t pay a large payment until they offer you something you can afford. We were paying $10 a month on a $10,000 bill after my son was born with no insurance.

Oh. Um, I didn’t realize the replies were going to be this scary. =:0

I’m fine now. I can’t tell anything even happened. The part I don’t understand is what it could have been; I didn’t eat or drink anything that I don’t normally. The bug bite was at least 12 hours old if not more, and the poison ivy was a couple of weeks old. Could any of it have caused a delayed reaction?

Yep, I guess the Epipen advice was good…

I didn’t mean to sound rude at all by the way. :slight_smile: We just care, that’s all.

One of my ER doctor fiends says that the greatest impediment to an accurate diagnosis is an existing diagnosis. Your symptoms are consistent with things having nothing to do with your immune system. IANAD, and I can’t speak for you, but anaphylaxis 2 weeks post exposure is something I’ve never seen or heard of.

Which is why you need to get thee to a doctor, dear heart. Don’t fuck around with this-do you want to risk a second time?

Update: it’s all good. :slight_smile: And dumb. Very dumb! I did go to an urgent care center, and they did an EKG and were talking about sending me to a cardiologist (!) until we figured out that it was probably the niacin. Wow, who knew? It behaved just like an allergic reaction, but apparently it was just a niacin supplement. So it’s a happy ending. :slight_smile: