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Topic: OT - OMG...itchy, scratchy, itchy scratchy!!! (with some minor icky stuff)

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Subject: OT - OMG...itchy, scratchy, itchy scratchy!!! (with some minor icky stuff)
Date Posted: 8/9/2013 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,522
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I went to pick some blueberries yesterday. While there, a couple of pesky fire ants stung me on the ankle. It hurt a bit, as it does...they've bitten me before, but each time just once. This time I had four or five bites. I went home and washed them with soap and water, and put some anti-itch cream on them like I'd done every other time.

By last night, I was covered head to toe with a gross, itchy rash. GAH! And the bites had puffed up and gotten kind of...pimple like, and a gross shade of reddish/purple. There was some icky stuff in them that looked like pus. The internet said not to pop them, so I didn't. I took some Benadryl tablets and went to bed, itching.

It was itchier and redder this morning when I got up, and my eyes were all puffy and red. My mom and I FREAKED. I called my doctor, who was booked up solid for the day and couldn't fit me in. However, they suggested I go to the urgent care, as it sounded like a "systemic allergic reaction" and should be checked out sooner than later. The urgent care doc took one look at me and shot me up with a high dose of liquid Benadryl, steroids and an antibiotic for the "infected" bites. Oh...and a fresh tetanus shot. He told me to keep taking OTC Benadryl after today for 5 days, as well as to take Zantac (yes, the antacid!) twice daily, as it also helps with blocking histamines. He said to take that during the day because it will make me less sleepy, and take the Benadryl at night.

He also gave me a prescription for an Epi-pen, as my sensitivity to fire ant bites is "escalating" and each time I'm bitten, it can get worse. Since I have now had exactly what my doctor's PA thought...a "systemic allergic reaction", I have to be careful if I'm bitten again, as the reaction can be more intense and set in faster next time, and could include breathing difficulties, which luckily I didn't have this time.

Does anyone here have an Epi-pen? How does it work for you? Do you take it with you everywhere, or just to places where you think you'll encounter an allergen? In my case, would I just take it when I'm going to be outdoors during ant season, or should it live in my purse always? I don't know how easy it would be to be attacked by fire ants in the mall...

wink
 



Last Edited on: 8/9/13 2:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/9/2013 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Ouch. I'm so sorry.

Date Posted: 8/9/2013 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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That sounds nasty, Lauri.  Hope you feel better soon.

Date Posted: 8/9/2013 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,493
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Wow nasty, Lauri.  I hope you feel better soon!  Never had to use an epi pen...so far.

Date Posted: 8/9/2013 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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I wouldn't leave home without it.

 

Date Posted: 8/10/2013 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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My youngest daughter has a peanut allergy that has escalated through the years, she always carries 2 epi pens at all times.

Date Posted: 8/11/2013 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Yep. Keep it with you at all times. Imagine this scenario ... 

You are at the mall - a safe & air conditioned concrete jungle. BUT, on your way home, you spy - carelessly tossed in the bar ditch - a box marked "HTF HF books." To get to the books you have to wade through some rather tall grass with no idea what lurks beneath your feet.

Are you going to pass up this box of treasures all for the lack of an epi-pen?

In all seriousness, I have the same condition with wasp stings; but, it hasn't reached the point where I have to carry an epi-pen. I'm just very, very cautious about being in a situation where I might get stung. 

Be better soon!

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 8/11/2013 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2008
Posts: 247
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Try using Fels - Naptha bar soap found in the laundry detergent isle.  It works great for itchy skin. Hope you are feeling better soon!

Date Posted: 8/11/2013 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I'm with Kelly who, of course, demonstrates once again her superb wit and wisdom. You just never know when that epi-pen is gonna be needed -- no point in taking unnecessary risks. Wishing you a speedy recovery (which might be enhanced by eating some chocolate, drinking some wine, and buying yourself a book...or two...or ten).

Date Posted: 8/12/2013 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,522
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Thanks for the feel better wishes and the advice! I think I'll just keep a pen in my purse and hope I don't need to use it. I'm still a total mess! I'm just one huge, giant hive made out of hundreds of little hives. I actually had hives from the bites, not a real rash. They've started giving me some additional oral steroids as well to help combat the itching and inflammation, because it is being persistent. I also bought some of the Fels Naphtha, MK C...and WOW! That's the best my skin has felt since the beginning of the weekend. Too bad I eventually had to get out of the bath.

And I'll have to keep an eye out for that abandoned box of HF books - I definitely wouldn't want to miss out on those!

wink



Last Edited on: 8/12/13 12:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2013 9:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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"Keep it in your purse" gets my vote, too.  Prepared is always better than not.

Date Posted: 8/12/2013 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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Reading this thread literally made me itchy.

Date Posted: 8/13/2013 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,465
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Oh Lauri - I don't have the allergy problem needing an Epi-pen but since I have asthma, I have to carry an inhaler with me at all times. I suggest you go with that Epi-pen, never forget it - make it a part of you!!!!! SERIOUSLY! Feel better soon!!!!!!

Date Posted: 8/13/2013 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2008
Posts: 247
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Yea!  Glad the soap worked for you.  It works great for any type of itchy skin caused by poison ivy, etc.  Hope the troubles are on the down hill slide.

Date Posted: 8/13/2013 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,522
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Today I am not hideously itchy for the first day since Thursday night. It is definitely the corner turning day. Yay, oral steroids! Of everything prescribed, they made the biggest difference by far in terms of relief...although the magic soap provided nice respites here and there.

wink

I have some dark, streaky bruise-ish marks in places - mostly on my legs. I called the doc to ask what they were and he said they were probably caused by fluid leakage from my capillaries. I gained over 15 pounds in water weight! I didn't realize it at first, but I was also retaining fluid like mad during this little episode. I wonder if I was puffed up more by the hives or by the water retention. Since I'd been wearing light, loose-fitting clothes as directed, I didn't realize that I'd plumped up so much.

surprise

He said they would fade away over the next week or so, and not to worry. I'll also shed some of the excess water over the next couple of days. Have procured the Epi-pen and have placed it in my purse. My mom also wants me to see an allergist about desensitivity protocols, so I may inquire about that as well. It can't hurt. Thanks so much for the support and kind words of advice!

Date Posted: 8/13/2013 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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Wow, what an ordeal.  Glad you're on the mend.

Date Posted: 8/20/2013 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,110
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Very late to your troubles Lauri but please keep your pen with you.  As to the fluid retention --- steroids are the worst for causing that to happen.  They can also make you sleepless, hyper, hungry and sometimes a bit nasty in the attitude department.  The fluid will eventually go away, but it can take some time.  Eat watermelon, that will help with removing it.  If you are still itchy, Aveeno makes an oatmeal bath that really helps and you can get it in generic from Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc.  It comes in packets and you put one in the tub and soak in it for a time.

When I lived in Texas I had some scary experiences with fireants.  Now as I anticipate moving to Oklahoma, it has become another things I will have to beware of as they have migrated as far north as Tulsa, and beyond I think.  I also have a severe reaction to wasp stings.  In the past 2 years I have ended up at the emergency/walk-in clinic twice while visiting my mother and trying to rid her patio of red wasps.  After the second time we called an exterminator.

Date Posted: 8/25/2013 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,286
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I never had to use mine (thank goodness), but I carried it with me at all times.  Mine was a 2-prong type deal.  You'd shoot yourself with it immediately, and then there was another needle that you used for a second dose.  Mine were good for about six months (check the expiration date on it), and I carried them for 5 years while going through allergy treatments.  My MD gave me a script for two, but eventually I'd just get one and when that expired I'd get the other one.  If I'd had to use the first one, the second one was available as soon as I went to the Pharmacy.  Good luck and be sure to let your PCP know about your allergy.  Pat

Date Posted: 8/26/2013 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,522
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Thanks for the extra info on steroids, Becky. It explains a lot...LOL. While I was taking a lot of the oral steroids, I couldn't understand why I had so much energy when on the treadmill. I hate exercising...I really do. It's a trial and I can't wait until it is over, even with listening to audio books to distract me. However, while I was taking the prescription, I was just trucking away...faster than usual, and longer than usual too. The hyper part makes sense. I have been slowly losing the water. The doctor who gave me the steroids told me that I would hold some fluid while I was taking the pills, and that I might need less sleep and more food, but he didn't mention the weird energy boost.

I'm finally tapering off now. At first I was taking 5 pills a day, now I'm down to only one. By Wednesday I will be finished completely. Steriods need a step-down process - you don't stop taking them all at once. I've noticed my rabid pace in exercising disappearing...it's back to normal now. That was one unexpected benefit I'll miss.

 



Last Edited on: 8/26/13 2:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1