cold, seasonal allergies, or other?

For the last two days, I’ve had that sore throat & raw mouth feeling again.  Comes with a stuffy nose, was it congested before?  Yeah, I think so but not so bad.

Cold?  I spent three hours of each of the last two days of the week locked in a poorly ventilated room with a group of co-workers at an HR contrived event.  I very easily could have picked up a cold.

Seasonal allergies?  Some years back, when I was a grad student in the New England Outback, I presented to the school’s student health center with symptoms of sinusitis.  I remember sitting in the hallway feeling like pick axes were being driven into my cheekbones, feverish, and feeling generally awful.  The nurse who saw me said “You know, you’re in here every November with a sinus infection…I think you should consider taking something for your Fall allergies.”  Allergies?  What?  I don’t have allergies!  Turns out I do, likely to leaf mold given the October/November timing of it.  The hurricane took down most of the leaves, left piles of rotting wet leaves everywhere, so there’ a good case for allergy as the culprit.

Other?  Since seeing the reactions I had to metals in my skin test, and getting some counseling about foods with high nickel content, I’ve been trying to avoid chocolate.  It is high on the list of nickel rich food.  At the risk of overstating this, it is nearly tragic for me to give up or at least limit chocolate.  I did pretty well until Halloween rolled around….which makes me wonder.  Could this be a food mediated allergic reaction?  If so, we’d expect an increase in gut symptoms (check) and perhaps skin symptoms (red blotchy spots on my chest and neck?  Check).  It also makes me wonder if my November allergy symptoms are not so much respiratory trigger related as they are a by product of the inevitable increase in candy (chocolate) consumption leading up to and around Halloween.

And then there’s another.  Because my gut symptoms have been worse (for whatever reason, chocolate or no) and because I had to be up and at the HR event early for two days in a row, I’ve been taking a lot more anticholinergic the last few days.  This means more dry mouth.  Which means a good climate for an overgrowth of candida, which my tendency to oral and oro-pharyngeal thrush suggests is always lurking just around the corner.

So here’s what I’ve done.  I’ve increase the allergy meds, started using saline nasal spray, increased water intake (tough, I need to set reminders on my cell phone), I’m taking a week of fluconazole, and I’m avoiding chocolate.  That last one is hard with there still being so much Halloween candy around but that will drop off soon enough and it’ll get easier.

I think once I’ve gotten things tamed down a bit, and after the snow comes and we have less leaf mold about, I’m going to do a test with chocolate again.  It’ll be sad to give up chocolate for good if I have to, but it will be good to know if this is the trigger for so much of my “mystery” symptom set.

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4 Comments

  1. I am not a choco-holic but it would be hard for me to give it up completely. Allergic to Halloween would be a horrible diagnosis for sure…………I but Skittles for my trick-or-treaters. I hate Skittles.

    Feel better.
    mo

    Reply
    • 🙂 Skittles! I tried keeping some in my drawer for low blood sugar episodes but I’ve since discovered that when you’re already struggling with nausea, the very last thing you need is a handful of skittles. I think I’ll stick with my ricola for blood sugar candy.

      Reply
  2. Medical Mojave

     /  November 5, 2012

    No chocolate? WHAT? Is there any chocolate that’s okay? Organic? Cocao nibs? Carob chips? I hope you feel better and you have my sympathy on the chocolate.

    Reply

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