Achoo! Spring time means it’s allergy season for a lot of people. The buds on the trees, the flowers opening up, and the beginning of grass cutting season often result in coughing, sneezing, and itching. It’s a yearly occurrence we’re all accustomed to, but in the vein of sharing some uncommon insights on an annual event that may specifically afflict some of your patients we’re sharing five unusual allergies that you need to be prepared to treat this year. A couple of these don’t seem too far fetched, but others are down-right bizarre:
- Exercise-induced anaphylaxis –An allergy to physical activity. Sometimes very simple physical activity such as walking can prompt an attack. Symptoms may include wheezing, itching, hives and cramping. In severe cases cardiovascular collapse can even occur. Headaches may occur up to three days after physical activity. Sounds like just one more excuse physical education teachers may have to put up with.
- Shoe allergies–An allergy to formaldehyde, which may be used in preserving leather products including shoes. Feet may need to be cleansed and treated with cortisone cream to fight the symptoms of this strange allergy. Fortunately, there are other shoe and apparel options for anyone who can’t tolerate leather.
- Wood allergies – An allergy to specific types of wood that can cause respiratory complications in the patient. Medications are available to prevent severe asthma symptoms. This may be hard to narrow down depending on how the patient is exposed to the allergen, and it could severely restrict participation in normal activities.
- Beer allergies – An allergy to, yes, beer. Well, more specifically an allergy to barley in the beer which contains a lipid transfer protein that can cause a severe reaction in some people. This can cause stomach issues, skin rashes, and possibly irregular heartbeats. It’s estimated that Americans drink more than 50 billion pints of beer annually, so this allergy must be unusual!
- Electricity allergies – yes, it sounds odd but is true. People can be allergic to devices that release high levels of electricity such as cell phones, light bulbs, and wifi. This type of allergy can create muscle pain or fatigue, headaches (some very severe) and irritated skin. People who experience this type of allergy often won’t use cell phones or go anywhere near electrical currents. Some won’t even venture outside. While there’s speculation that this allergy is stress induced or imagined, there are plenty of people who suffer with the symptoms. The popular TV show, Better Call Saul, depicts Chuck McGill’s electromagnetic sensitivity as psychosomatic.
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