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Contact Allergy to another person

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Contact Allergy to another person

Postby hannah_ » Fri May 02, 2014 9:24 am

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on a contact allergy I am suffering from.

A bit of background: I have had mild eczema since I was a baby (it flares up with the usual culprits: stress / hormonal changes / poor diet / changes in seasons / central heating / dust etc.) but most of the time is pretty manageable. It tends to appear in different areas in a cycle of about 5-7 years. When I was a baby/child I had it on the inside of my elbows and back of my knees, as a teenager it was my neck and wrists, then around my early 20s it moved to my back, fingers and around my eyes and mouth.

I am now in my mid 20s and am suffering from the worst contact dermatitis I've ever endured. It has been happening for the past 3 months – the entire time I've been seeing my current boyfriend. The first time I stayed over at his house I woke up with a swollen face, arms and hands, with a severe rash all over my face. I went home, showered and washed my hair, took an antihistamine and the reaction calmed down in about 48hours with no contact with him in that time.

However, from then on, every time I kissed him or had contact with him (even leaning on his shoulder) my skin would begin to flare up again. I had another 'attack' when I stayed over at his flat a 2nd time and had to be taken to A&E as I was struggling to breath and my nose had swollen dramatically, along with the same rash as before.

We suspected I was having an allergic reaction to something he used on his face or body so since the trip to A&E he has been using all the same products as I use myself (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, washing powder). I have been to my GP about it several times and was prescribed oral steroids and have a plethora of antihistamines, hydrocortisone's and topical ointments that I am now using on a daily basis.

I have also now had patch tests done by the Contact Dermatitis Unit at my local Hospital for ALL of the products he uses/used to use (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturiser, face wipes, deodorant, aftershave, washing powder) and NONE of them showed up as an allergy. Yet my skin still flares up when we have skin-to-skin contact (kissing etc.) and is characterised by inflamed, rash-like bumps around my nose, mouth and chin, and patches of red, dry skin on my cheeks, bridge of my nose and forehead.

As if this wasn't bad enough...I have now started reacting when we have sex - something which wasn't a problem when we first starting dating, aside from the fact that my skin would flare up from being so close to him. I now react with internal swelling and itching whenever he touches me or we try to have sex. The swelling normally goes down within 24hrs but the internal itch lasts a couple of days afterwards. So sex is not really possible for us anymore.

WHAT CAN IT BE? I am struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel now and it is not only effecting our (very new) relationship, but also my work, sleeping, and general health :( my GP is baffled, and the patch testing provided no answers.

I am tired, upset and fed up of having the same flare ups over and over with very little relief. Has ANYONE had this problem before? And what was the solution?

I would appreciate any advice/help, THANK YOU.
hannah_
 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2014 8:58 am

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