Top 10 Tips for getting over an allergic reaction

This week I’m recovering from a particularly nasty allergy flare up. It was the usual scenario. When I cook at home everything is fine. When I eat out – even if I’m really careful, things can and do go badly wrong. With me I can eat the food fine, no swelling, no anaphylaxis, (unless it had contained nuts or dairy) but there are some little ingredients, which I have not yet identified which send me into a spin. These are things that I am just intolerant to, not allergic. Just intolerant seems to indicate the reaction might be quite mild, but let me tell you, I can be knocked completely sideways by some of these nasty foods I’m intolerant to.

I’ve been lucky lately. It’s been a while since I had a major flare up like this. That’s because I am very very careful about what I eat and am always prepared. However, this weekend, at my niece’s 5th birthday party I succumbed to the Tesco’s Chinese Selection. They were calling to me. Normally I wouldn’t have even gone near, but the packet said it contained No Nuts so that was one tick in the box. It also said that it contained Sesame, wheat, gluten, fish and soya. These are all things I can eat. No mention of the dreaded dairy. I still read the full ingredients list thoroughly and couldn’t see anything that sounded nasty, but… I think I was coriandered!

I did notice my chin was itching later in the day. I tried to ignore this as best I could, but as we went to leave the fog began to descend. Does anyone else have this? It’s like a cape of dark foreboding, I know what’s coming, the burnt crusty itchy skin that I get after eating processed food is on its way, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can take a few anti-histamines, which help, but it has to work its way out of my system so I have a few painful days ahead of me.

At least I think it could have been the coriander that caused this latest reaction. Who on earth is intolerant to coriander? Well I am. I can tolerate it in very tiny quantities and have been trying to reintroduce it to my diet so I thought this would be OK. Sadly, NO, NOT OK! Basically I look like I’ve been lying out on the sun and have a bad case of sunburn, but the skin is also swollen, my eyes keep running, my nose is blocked and I feel soooo itchy. It’s very distracting and to top it all my skin is also really dry and positively drinking up the emollients I’m lathering on.

There is one common theme with all of my reactions. They occur after eating processed foods. By that I mean anything that has been mass produced on a factory line and even when these products appear to be fairly healthy, with NO artificial preservatives, flavours or colours and none of those weird things that are added to foods, I still have a reaction. What is that all about? Am I allergic to processed foods? How do I know whether it was the coriander or something else?

I’ve found that even though I know what I should do, and have learnt from experience what helps me and what doesn’t, at times of pressure and stress I often forget the simplest of things and put up with stuff I really shouldn’t. Sitting at my desk today trying to work reminded me of this list of tips I wrote for Christmas one year, so I’m sharing it with you all today. Because even though I wrote this list of tips myself, I had forgotten to actually take action to alleviate my own symptoms.

So in case you suffer a similar mishap, make sure you’re ready… Don’t suffer in silence. I’ve found loads of things that can really help you get through the pain of an allergic attack. Here are my top 10 tips for getting over the aftermath an allergic reaction:

1. Give me drugs
Make sure you have always have enough anti-histamines and the expiry date on your EpiPen and order a new one if you need to. If you use an inhaler make sure you always have a spare and both are within date. Steroids can help too if you have a bad flare up so make sure you have some in the medicine cabinet for emergencies. I sometimes think it’s better to use topical steroid creams to treat eczema caused by an allergic reaction; you might be worried about how these can thin your skin, but the side effects of extensive scratching, lack of sleep, scar tissue, pain and low moods are not much fun either. I’m recommending using strong steroids on your face here, just the lowest percentage such as Hydrocortisone. Or I have Elocon which is amazing and you only need to use a tiny tiny bit. Nasal sprays and eye drops can also help if you suffer particularly from excess mucus during an allergic attack.

2. Ice, ice baby
I’ve got an amazing Roshgo chilled face mask which lives in my freezer. It’s invaluable when I have an allergic reaction as it cools and soothes the burning feeling on my skin. You can use the plastic freezer bag packs, or failing that a bag of frozen peas or ice cubes packed into a plastic bag. Make sure you put the ice pack back into the freezer straight away so you can have another soothing chilly compress later on if you need to. A cool bath can also help if you are feeling really hot and bothered and your skin has erupted all over your body – it’s rather unpleasant, and chilly… but worth it as it can really calm down itchy skin.

3. Tackle the pain
If you had a head ache you wouldn’t think twice about popping a paracetamol or ibuprofen would you? Don’t be hard on yourself if you have an allergic reaction, take a pain killer and it will really help you get over the early agonising itching stages of an attack.

4. Feet up and chill
If you can put your feet up, this really helps; if you’re at work, have kids to look after etc. this might not be possible but if you can let your friends and family know you need some space for an hour or so it works wonders. Sneak up to your bedroom, or a quite place. Lay down with the ice pack, having taken a pain killer and anti-histamines and relax. Think happy thoughts and imagine your ravaged skin all healed and back to normal; play some soothing music, turn down the lights and relax.

5. Drink plenty to hydrate
Drink plenty of water, you need to replenish your body’s stock of rehydrating liquids and water is the best way of doing this. You could also have a relaxing camomile, nettle or redbush tea.

6. Moisturise
Keeping your skin moisturised is vital, don’t stint on this when you have an allergic reaction. Bathe and clean your hands and face, or wherever affected, just in case it’s something you’ve transferred on your hands. Apply your chosen moisturiser liberally and keep applying it often. You may feel a bit slimy and uncomfortable for a while but it really helps your skin to recover. Try a little bit of 99% Aloe Vera gel on your skin, then cover with something oily like Epaderm to seal in the moisture. Aloe Vera is a natural healer. Tea Tree oil is also really good to prevent bacteria infections. Keep your skin clean and wash a few times a day if you are feeling very itchy. A splash of cold water can really help, then of course, rehydrate with your choice of moisturiser. Try not to touch your face too much, even though it’s itchy.

7. A little help from nature
There are many things that can help an allergic reaction such as herbs and plants that can help boost your immune system, or alleviate the blocked up stuffiness of the excess mucus that can be created. Take some Echinacea, Grape Seed extract, Evening Primrose or Borage, Stinging nettle or milk thistle. An extra boost of zinc, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and other vitamins will also help give the skin a helping hand to recover.

8. Avoid it happening again
Can you think back to what caused your reaction? If you aren’t sure write down all the possible offenders, what did you eat, where have you been, what have you used or done differently recently? For example you might have bought a new shower gel, washing powder or soap, or a different brand of sauce; check the ingredients and if you can, do a safe test on a small area of your skin to see if you react. Once you’ve pinned down the culprit do whatever you can to avoid it happening again to you or anyone else and take precautions. If you really aren’t sure, speak to you doctor about having some food allergy tests done at your local allergy clinic.

9. Snap it
I’ve started to photograph my allergic reactions, then save the photo by date and what I think caused it. It can be really useful to show previous reactions to your doctor and also help you document the advancement or progress of your allergic reactions; are your reactions getting better, worse, or changing? What’s causing them? Get someone to take a picture when the reaction is at its worst; you’ll be amazed when you look back afterwards and you never know when the photo will come in handy.

10. Know your skin
Most of all get to know your skin; keep a symptoms and mood diary where you record what you ate, how you felt and any changes, rashes or reactions. You will soon learn to recognise any tiny changes early and so start your coping regime earlier and minimise the symptoms. It will help you in the long run to identify things you are intolerant to and allergic to. If you suffer any infection or blistering this could be serious and you should go and see your doctor or allergy specialist right away.

11. I know I said 10 tips, but I’ve found another. Get some fresh air!
There is actually an eleventh tip that I’ll give you as well absolutely free of charge. This glorious sunshine and the amazing boost it’s given me from going out for just ten minutes fresh air has reminded me that getting outside is also a great medicine. It might not feel like it. You might wish you could cover you face with a scarf and hide away, but fresh air is definitely up there on my list of things that help. Once the main pain and swelling has reduced, get outside, take a stroll, or just sit and watch the world go by for a while. I promise you’ll feel a little bit better.

I hope that none of you have an allergic reaction, but we all make mistakes, and it’s especially hard during holidays when we relax, are invited to parties, friends’ houses to generally eat drink and be merry. If the worst does happen, make sure you are prepared to act fast, minimise the symptoms and get back to normal as fast as you can.

Stay safe and I hope you don’t have an allergic reaction, but if you do, some of the above just might help. Do you have any other remedies or tricks to get over allergic attacks? I’d love to hear from anyone who can sympathise or has any other ideas.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. robert hammond says:

    Ruth. I was interested to read your ten tips, even though I don’t suffer from allergic reactions except accidental eating of MSG prevents me sleeping. I was pleased to see in one, you mentioned milk thistle. In very cold weather my lower legs itch and I have found that to be the ony medicine that stops it wthout fail. one must be careful to take the right dose though. Its very brave of you with your experience, to tell others what you find of help. BOB H.

    • Hi there Bob. Thanks for the comment. Yes Milk Thistle is very clever. Not sure how it works but it certainly helps me to process whatever is causing the problem more swiftly and in turn, alleviate the itch. Your itchy legs in cold weather is interesting. People can be allergic to extreme cold – hives and urticaria are one of the symptoms. Luckily for you the weather is brightening up nicely now. Such a gorgeous day today. Definitely cheered me up and made the allergic reaction pale nearly into insignificance. But not quite completely…

      • Hi, just a quick observation milk thistle supports the liver, the liver is what helps flush the toxins out of your system. One of the signs that your liver is struggling is dry skin on your lower legs.

        • Well I routinely have dry skin on my lower legs… so maybe my liver needs a helping hand. I haven’t taken this herb for some time so I might get hold of some again.

          • I used to, and periodically my liver test would come back wonky, but never enough for the doctors to do anything. I found out I was allergic to milk, and I can’t digest protein once I quit those two things my legs cleared up, I figure it was just too much work for my liver. Good luck 🙂

      • amrit bawa says:

        hello Ruth I have suffered with milk allergy casein whey and lactose since the age of eight and perhaps earlier. and in addition white flour white rice, fried foods and tomatoes. What is interesting in this post nobody mentions about how to clear the symtoms, ok milk thistle and other remedies may offer relief but i find once i have had milk products by mistake the pain and effects never ever go away by eating a normal non allergic diet, the symtoms always seem to mask underneath, the only thing i find that helps is fasting. on fruit and herbtea, it can take a whole day to clear or even more. has anyone found a quicker way to get rid of the symptoms?

        • I know what you mean, I don’t intend to but often I can’t even stomach much food of any substance until the reaction has passed. I just totally go off food. I make no conscious effort to fast I just had no appetite. Maybe my body is telling me this is what it needs to recover? I always feel like my body doesn’t trust me to feed it something safe so I just get by on very little. My stomach doesn’t even rumble, sometimes for more than one day. It’s very odd because I am normally a good eater, I don’t over eat but I enjoy me food, eat a good breakfast, lunch and evening meal so what happens? no idea. But I think maybe you’re right. I just never knew I was even doing it!

          • Tiffany R says:

            To the author of this blog -I think your allergic to monosodium glutamate (MSG) I have the exact same reaction to processed foods & realized after 5 years that all the items I kept getting a reaction from had that ingredient in them! It’s a favor enhancer they add to food to make it taste very good but it’s VERY VERY bad for you!!! I’ll let you do your own research but I really think that’s the issue!

  2. Danuta Reddicks says:

    Interesting, just found out your site by searching google and this article is exactly what i was looking for. Could you please tell me whether you have an rss feed for this site? I would like to add this site to my rss feed reader, so i’ve looked for the rss icon but cannot seem to find it…

  3. TeriFreeman says:

    Thank you for all of your info,i will be intouch…..been thru alot and afraid to eat anything..never in my life have i ever had an allergic reaction to anything…scared to death.. Teri in Cinci.. seafood,was a possible culprit,dairy ,wheat ,not really quite sure …hoping to find out soon …will get back to you ,thanks again for the info !!!!

  4. la chaparra visoso says:

    Ive had a breakout going on about 2 wks. 2day I tried calamine lotion & it helps to relieve the itch. Hopefully the itch and rash go away soon.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been suffering from some type of food allergy for 2 years now and still haven’t figured out what I’m allergic to. Narrowed it down to seafood or dairy. Doc says I have atopic dermatitis and perscribes tetracycline which works short term. Lately I’ve been using a mixture of oatmeal and water lately to calm the itch, leave it for 10-20 mins feels much better. Aloe vera is also great.

    • Hi Degawa. Can your doctor refer you for tests to find out what you’re allergic to? Sometimes it can a particular fish only which is weird. It would help you if you could narrow down what’s causing you the problem. I had to do an illimination diet to pinpoint some of mine but this is not for the faint hearted and I got referred to a local nutricionist who planned the programme with me. The diet is quite restrictive initially and then you reintroduce one food at a time and note down your mood, symptoms etc. You have to be really strict. So I would think about getting the tests done if you can or trying to illiminate and then eat only the suspect food, nothing else new or potentially allergenic that day. It’s hard work but it does work. Worth noting also that allergic reactions can be delayed and come up one or two days after eating the food, not just at the time with severe reactions. I get both types of reaction and am getting over something today. Was up the night with raging hives all over my neck, face and scalp, itching all over, brain bubbling – this is what happens to me when I eat tomatoes. Yet I know I haven’t eaten any. However we did two meals in the house, one with tomatoes and one without. seems I need to be a bit more vigilant with serving/stirring spoon management!

    • PS. Aloe vera is great! Very soothing.

  6. I actually had a severe reaction a few months ago which made me take a trip to the hospital. The doc assumed it was a shrimp allergy which at the time I agreed may be the cause. I went for a shellfish allergy test and it came back negative!? So I’m trying the elimination diet now which I have to agree is VERY difficult. I’m also planning another visit to the doc to get more testing done. Lately I’ve just been taking Benedryl every night to calm it down so I can get some rest 🙁

  7. Also, What types of foods do u recommend on this elimination diet? I am having a hard time finding safe things to eat. I think I’ll start keeping a food journal as well.

    • I got advice from a nutrition consultant and followed their advice to the letter, but it is hard as you could be allergic to just about any food. I was eating just chicken, lamb (I think), rice, which included rice and rice milk, bottled water, brocolli, cabbage, Cauliflower and apples at the start. NOT an easy diet. Oh and sweet potatoes. So I made this sweet potato bread little rotti things which were quite a treat. This is by no means an easy quick fix though and you should get someone qualified to help you. There is a sensible order to reintroduce foods into the diet in, so then you do one food at a time and watch for any symptoms, which could be the same day, the next day or even the day after that. So you have to be VERY strict. I think I was allowed olive oil, salt and pepper at the start too. I remember being very hungry and I lost a lot of weight. But I discovered a few things that were giving me huge problems so it’s well worth the effort.

  8. Hi ,
    Can any help me to get rid of this skin allergy.I am suffering from past 4 years but still i haven’t got any solution after consulting many skin specialists.
    In the blood checkup i came to know that due to increase level of heamoglobin count in my blood causing this terrific reaction.
    Symptons of my skin allergy is getting red patches and small pimples if any rashing thing touches me that may be a person,leaf,towel,ornament,insects,mosquito and all outer bodies.
    Doctor says apply moisturizer whenever i get that itching sense on the body part but my question is how can apply for entire body if whole body is itching.And also doctor says for some foods i am allergic but till now i never came to know that for which food i am allergic.Please help me to get rid of this …..

    Thanks in advance
    Nagaraj N

    • Hi Nagaraj, I’m not a doctor so I can’t really give you any advice, but if your doctor says you have a food allergy can you give you any more advice about which foods? There are some common foods, the top 13 which are the most common allergens, including dairy/milk, fish, nuts, wheat, egg etc. To do an elimination diet it’s best to find someone, a nutrition consultant who can advise you. You would need to be really strict, cut out certain foods and have a quite basic diet, then if your skin gets better after a few weeks you know that food might be playing a part. The idea then is to keep a food and mood diary and reintroduce foods one by one, in a controlled way. It’s not easy and can be hard work, but it can often be the only true way to diagnose food allergies since blood tests can give you false positives and negatives. I’m not sure if I’m helping at all, and it’s tough, because it could be being caused by anything. The most common food to cause skin problems is dairy though, so you could see it taking dairy out of your diet for a short while would help, that means milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and all derivatives in baked goods etc. Do please seek medical advice though. You need to make sure you are getting a balanced diet to maintain a healthy body and most importantly – that skin. Good luck.

  9. Hi,

    My boyfriend has a really severe allergy to milk, well, technically to casein, a protein within milk. When I read your post I noticed that you said that you avoid nuts and dairy. If your dairy allergy is due to casein (rather than whey) then yes, you may – sort of – be allergic to processed food. Casein, or a derivative of casein (I’m not as good on the technical explanations as my beau is) is often used to preserve things, therefore it can be contained (though not necessarily listed, and not classed as an ‘artificial preservative’) in many processed things. It’s also injected in to some chickens for the same reason. Also, look out for ‘sulfites’ on labels, before we started going out I would never have thought that someone with a milk allergy would need to avoid white wine for example, but casein is in sulfites (sulphites – not sure of the spelling!) and used *sometimes* in the refining process of wine making.
    I don’t know if any of this will help you with coping with allergies – hats off to you, I’ve learnt how hard it is – but thought I would share what little I know!

    • Thank you Guinea. Every comment I get on here helps. It can feel sometimes like I am waffling On and no one is reading it so thank you. I too have a problem with some wine, it’s like Russian roulette! Cannot wait till next year when labelling should include dairy when it’s present. Processed food is definitely a no go for me but hey, it makes me healthy.

  10. that was a good read, i have allergies and at the moment i’m having a really bad reaction i think the culprit is olive oil, my eye’s are going wild, my eyes have aged about 20 years, my head face and neck are constantly itching and burning and basically its driving me nuts, i have allergies to milk, dust and pets but i have been avoiding these for years, i hope it is the olive oil as that is the only new thing i have introduced to my diet recently. it does worry me as i had 30 years of bad skin before it was found that i was allergic to milk, i don’t want to go through that again i really don’t. one thing is for sure i need to relax lol

    • Hi Nicky, I too have an allergy to milk, dust and animal hair and dander. As well as celery, tomato, coriander, latex and soya. and the list is growing, which is a nightmare. This shoulds so like what happens to me when I’ve been accidentally ‘dairyed’ but it could be caused by any allergy. It does sound like a straight up allergic reaction. What you describe is exactly what happens to me. I’m just getting over it too, and I think I know what it was. I’ve never heard of olive oil allergy but I guess you can be allergic to anything. However if you’ve eaten out it could have been cross contamination, it could have been something that changed its recipe, it could be hidden allergens in stuff, or it could be a new allergy. I suggest you keep a food and mood diary and record both what you eat and what your symptoms are, how you feel, what your skin is like, your state of mind and EXACTLY what you eat and keep the packets of anything that you didn’t make yourself. If you can take this to your doctor and you can prove what’s causing your problems it can help with getting a diagnosis and then getting help with how to live with it. Doing an elimination diet is not easy and I would suggest you seek medical or professional advice if you can, but if you can get back to normal skin, then the only way to really know if a certain food is causing youa problem is to reintroduce stuff one by one, really small amounts at first. It’s tough. But it is really helpful if you can stick at it. I have a word doc somewhere with a food diary template. If I can find it I’ll share it on here so you can download and use. Good luck

    • If you think it’s your olive oil, check the bottle… Even olive oil that says extra virgin olive oil or even organic can have other oils like Palm oil(really bad) or canola( also really bad ) I’ve even seen soybean oil ! … So check the label and make sure it was 100% olive oil

  11. Hi, I’m so easy to have allergy reaction on my face! Seafood not fresh i ate, my whole face will come out with hives, the feeling is burned n itchy! Sometime it react on random food too! I don’t think it’s cure!!

  12. Talla Mitchell says:

    I am allergic to all processed sugar, and processed food. No body believed me for years that someone could be allergic to sugar, but the doctors and nurses are finally beginning to believe me. I have gotten to the point where I simply do not eat out any more, sugar is in everything!!!!! It is okay I am learning to have dinner parties at home and getting together does not have to do with food. For me I usually just ride out allergies, because there is sugar in most allergy medicines LOL. I am grateful for the tips though because it really feels yucky to have a reaction. This time was a complete accident. I can eat unsweetened chocolate but the store put the bittersweet (sugar) in the same pile as the unsweetened and i didn’t look when I openned the package, oops won’t do that again!!

    • Well I can’t eat anything processed either, and rarely eat out. Though there are a few places I trust to make me a steak. I sympathise and it’s probably not surprising about the sugar, the process it goes through is pretty disgusting. Can you have molasses and honey? I suspect I too have a bit of a sugar problem so sympathise.

    • Hi Talla,

      I feel for you ~ this is no fun! I learned from another person, that her husband was allergic to cane sugar. I believe she told me that it actually designated as a ‘grass’. Sometimes I wonder even if I have it. I’m having my own battle with food intolerances, and seem to constantly find another “something” that is aggravating me. I also would suggest maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia, date sugar, in addition to the honey & molasses as Ruth suggested. I wish you the best ~

      • There is also a new sugar called Sukrin, it is processed but might be a good alternative for someone who can’t have cane sugar. Also Sweet Freedom do a plant sugar that looks just like maple syrup. Agave syrup can be good but I find it’s not really very sweet so depends on your tastes.

  13. Great article , thanks so much for writing this. I am the only person i know who is allergic to almost everything. Seeing the responses made me feel like I’m not alone or over reacting. At first my allergist was skeptical, but i was persistent and kept on scheduling appointments and emailing her. One doctor stated that he believed me but my case is so rare. Anyway i had one of my allergy episodes last week after getting a facial
    I honestly do not know what i was thinking. I am allergic to berries, and some processed foods .i tried activated charcoal and that helped with the itching and burning sensations. Also, like you stated I stayed hydrated , kept cool and calm, and pulled in the steroids, the ointments, and the antihistamines. They usually last two weeks.

    • Not the only one no, I am allergic to all nuts, dairy, soya, kidney beans, tomato, celery, dust, latex, nickel, possibly baking powder and sometimes xanthum gum. Alcohol isn’t good for me either… Learning to cook, fresh, natural ingredients is the only way.

  14. I would like to add another source of allergy that completely through me for a loop and I’m treating it now. I had a terrible reaction to potting soil. This potting soil also had fertilizer in it. It wasn’t Miracle Grow, but seems like it was a generic brand. I asked my husband to search online and see if he could find a connection or others who have experienced reactions. We were so surprised when it came up with numerous accounts! The culprit is crushed peanut shells. WOW. I can’t have peanuts anymore. I realize it could be the chemicals that are used as the fertilizer…. but for right now, I just wanted to share the peanut ingredient. I’m 56 and have potted plants every spring for EVER with no reactions! LOL This is the first time I went into a very acute allergic reaction. I have terrible conjunctivitis and my hands are a mess and have Swelling from the inflammation everywhere. My homeopath/naturapath has me taking remedy ‘Apis Melilfica’. hourly until we get me over this. Also use Apple Cider Vinegar in water to drink several times a day. Really helps balance you pH and helps with ridding your body of the toxins. Of course, remember the Vit C & D, and fish oil. I do at least 2000 u a day.
    It is affirming to read everyone’s accounts…. I breathe a sigh of relief and can say… I am NOT crazy!! 😀 Thanks for the original post and everyone’s responses!!

    • WOW I would never have thought soil would have peanuts in it. That is crazy. I hope it clears up soon and thanks for letting me know. Can you remember what company made it?

  15. I too suffer from this. The only thing I can say for sure that triggers this is preservatives. I feel best when I only eat chicken and I don’t particular like chicken or most meat. When I stray from simple meals, I have a rash that flares up on my body, my chin burns, face sweats and I feel overall irritable and tired.

    Some foods that are really bad for me is:

    – Pretty much anything from Tim Hortons (coffee and donut shop here in Canada)
    – Pepsi (Mountain Dew is a pop/soda that doesn’t bother me)
    – Breads and Starches
    – Beer (typically lagers are the worse)

    I actually eat quite well but on occasion I will eat some crap food to eat and it reminds me of why I avoid it in the first place.

    Aside from avoidance I find plenty of water water and a very plain, boring diet helps.

    I suspect I have a few different issues going on but it is very frustrating. I am a healthy weight but I can “gain” 5-7 lbs in one day if I don’t keep it in check.

    • I’m pretty sure anything processed is bad for me, preservatives etc. Not good for humans, especially us sensitive types. And the reaction you describe is exactly what I get from celery and tomato and processed foods. Not great but it keeps us healthy.

  16. Not sure if any of you have heard of leaky gut? As your intestines become more and more damaged you start to become allergic to more and more foods. If you look into it there are ways to help correct it. I am about to begin the GAPS diet and hope it helps. Have only heard good results from friends about it so am excited to try. Have been to several doctors and now a naturalist which has helped the most! Good luck!

  17. shivani says:

    hi i want help ..last nit i puted colgate on my black spots bt recommended one of friend bt in morning its become very bed red spots and its hurting also cn u plz help to bcome my skin as it is ??? thank u
    really need help

  18. christelle says:

    I, too, react to many things with similar symptoms. I’m convinced that not only food additives are causing my symptoms but GMOs. Practically all processed foods have genetically modified food ingredients in them. Since GMOs are foreign and contain pesticides the body attacks them as an intruder. It is difficult to stay away from them but worth the effort.

  19. LeastMostWanted says:

    That cloud of foreboding you are talking about is the beginning stages of shock coming on. Rapid heart rate and a sense of doom, the chemicals in your brain going into fight or flight mode is how my doctor explained it to me. I get these feelings too and while I hate them, it is the one early symptom I can count on to let me know I have somehow eaten some small piece of raw tomato.

  20. This is amazing! My face is all broke out from an allergic reaction and its nasty red and angry. I’m definitely going to try some of these tips!

  21. I have had an allergic reaction after a few days of grouting…the areas of my skin that came into contact with the grout directly have broken out into a painful itching bright red rash. I have been using OTC creams and taking benadryl. Its been well over a week now. Tonight I am going to try aloe vera. If anyone has any other suggestions I would b happy to hear. Thx!!

    • Hi Diana, that sounds painful. I’m guessing you’ll avoid grouting from now on, but I wonder if it’s possible to wear gloves to grout? I suspect it would be tricky as I’ve just grouted half our kitchen (rest still to do). It didn’t make my hands too bad but I was washing them over and over adn they did feel dry afterwards but not too bad. Must be one of the nasty ingredients you reacted to or caused sensitivity on your skin. Aloe vera will help but if your skin is sore adn dry you might need something with more moisturising as well as the aloe vera. If my hands are really bad smother then in Epaderm or other emollient and put on some thin vinyl gloves and then cotton gloves on top. I also have some amazing creams from Ecz-tend by Gentle Green and Spiezia calendula ointment which I use on my hands when they get eczema. Maybe ask your local chemist what they suggest as these two are quite pricey. I know Aveeno is very good too and available in most chemists. No more grouting for you!

      • Thanks for s couple more options Ruth. Fortunately I did wear gloves…so my breakout is between the skin exposed from gloves to shirt sleeve. Aloe has seemed to calm it down overnight… Will keep these going for another day to see if there is further improvement. Thanks again!!!

  22. Are you sure you are not intolerant to gluten? I would recommend eliminating gluten 100% for 4-6 weeks to see if that improves your symptoms and reactions. Blood tests will not show gluten intolerance, only Celiac disease, which, of course, is quite different. Gluten comes in many many disguises and causes many many different symptoms, AND can caused symptoms for weeks and weeks. (I saw improvements even six months to a year after removing all gluten from my diet, including my very first 100% normal colonoscopy!)
    Maybe you’ve already tried this route, but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case. 🙂
    Best of luck and health to you!

  23. johnathan says:

    I can tell of it poison ivy or a reaction can you tell me in?

    • Hi Johnathan, well I’m not sure, but if you’ve been touching poison ivy that’s a big club… It’s nasty stuff. Is probably that if you have. Not sure what the best treatment would be. Cold shower, wash it off and apply aloe vera so soothe.

  24. Wow this actually helped me as this was my first time expirancing this I was a little scared at first but thanks to you and the Internet it helped a lot …. 26 years of age.

  25. Thanks very much for posting this. It’s so hard to find useful information about dealing with the aftermath of allergy. I’ve been intolerant of a few foods for years but about 9 months ago I’ve had really bad eczema progressively spreading up from my hands around my neck and up my face. Suddenly it’s getting really bad and my arms looked like I’d put them under the grill – they were just raw. Anyway, I worked out that it’s not eczema it’s an allergy (intolerance is probably more correct) to aspirin. The change was dramatic but the skin has not completely recovered and is flaring up. As aspirin can give you a leaky gut it may just need lots of time for everything to recover but it’s frustrating. I have a feeling sugar is making it worse and being in the sun, which I was told was good for eczema, is not good for skin stressed by allergy. I heard seaweed baths are soothing so I’ll be trying those. But really I wanted to say to anyone, be aware of aspirin too since it’s so easily available and so easy to take more than we should without being aware of it.

    • I think I’d call that an allergy, just because you don’t get full blown anaphylaxis it can still be allergy. If aspirin triggers eczema every time to that chronic degree – it’s allergic. People can get very bad reactions to aspirin – my sister is really allergic to paracetamol! Hope your skin clears up soon.

  26. Thank you, this is very helpful. I’m having a reaction right now and the foggy brain has set in. Th funny thing is, I thought it was just me. Turns out I’m allergic to red ant bites. I can tell as soon as I’ve been bitten 🙁 Anyways thank you for this helpful info:)

    • Ouch! I don’t like the sound of red ant bites… I hope you get over the reaction fast. How did you get bitten? Were you gardening or sitting in the garden? We don’t get them in the UK… at least I don’t think we do. We do get some biting spiders… never come across one yet and keep my distance from most creepy crawlies. Urgh

  27. It is important when you have multiple food allergies to start by eliminating EVERYTHING on your sensitivity list, for a period of 2-3 months, because it can take that long to clear the allergens from your system. You should be taking a good probiotic during this time to help repopulate your intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria to aid digestion. Aloe Vera juice also has intestinal healing properties. Use this forum to discuss more to overcome your food allergy.

    • Thanks for the comment Sara, and yes I agree. It can be very daunting and confusing to cut out so many goods all at the same time but it really is the only way to be sure which foods cause problems. Then reintroduce one at a time slowly. I did try aloe vera juice but it didn’t agree with me at all… not for everyone I suppose. Gut bacteria is very important too so probiotics can only help with the healing and health.

  28. I have been suffering from similar symptoms for a couple of years now and has my worst reaction last week. I have very sensitive skin and suffer with eczema. Food is also a big problem for me and seems to cause a lot of my flares. I too know the signs when a flare up is going to happen and know that the next week is going to be pretty dreadful. The first sign is slight tingling and itching in my face. Things will get worse over the next couple of days. My face will become so red (looks like I have severe burns), hot and incredibly dry. Occasionally I will get swelling, mostly around my eyes. No matter how much cream/emollient I apply, the dryness persists. I have to spend days just constantly applying it.
    My worst experience of this to date was two weeks, when the reaction was so severe I had to attended a and e. My face was so swollen, I could hardly open my eyes and my face and neck was hot,red and dry. I was given steroids, antihistamines (which I take on a daily basis) and told to lather on the emollient. My GP has finally agreed to do allergy test, which I am awaiting the results for.
    After this experience, I have taken so much care with what I have eaten, but again, today I am suffering with the same problem, minus the swelling (which started 2days ago).
    I am aware of various foods which I am intolerant to, but there are more that I don’t have a clue about. I am considering a proper food elimination diet, but know this will be tough and don’t have a clue where to start. Any hints and tips you can suggest? I will be seeking advice from my GP too.

    • I posted earlier but what you are going through rang a bell with me. I thought mine was an aspirin allergy because it improved dramatically for a few days after I cut it out. Then, after writing here, it all came back. At the same time I sent off a blood sample (I used Yorktest in the UK) and started an elimination diet. Elimination diets are nearly impossible! I was so distressed I thought I’d just start off eating carrots for the first day. Turns out, when the results came back, carrots are high on my list! I would never have worked it out. Most significantly, I found out eggs and milk are the worst (along with gluten and yeast which I already worked out years ago). I was eating eggs nearly every day and I liked very milky tea. I have to say I was truly shocked that it was diary – the old culprit. My face is tingling today too (although overall everything is getting better slowly) so the tiniest amounts must be enough. I would strongly recommend getting a reliable food test done. Mine has shown me I need to avoid mustard and cashews. It will save you a lot of time and distress of food is the cause.

  29. So I have a lot of allergies and I’m currently getting near constant flare ups. The problem is, I’m allergic to nearly all creams, corticosteroids and antihistamines. So when I get flare ups I can’t control it in any way. I literally have to let it ravage my skin and just wait it out. I still have no idea what causes the flare ups as they still happen when I stay away from the stuff I’m allergic to. Yeah allergies suck.

    • Hi Courtney, can i ask where your skin flares up? Mine does too, and to be honest, it just takes its course and nothing really helped in terms of getting rid of it, just making it easier to bear was all I could manage. If you get facial flare ups look into trying Protopic – it has worked miracles for my facial eczema flaring. It’s an immune suppressant not a steroid so safe to use on your face. Yes allergies suck… I hate them ;o)

  30. Hi All,
    Lovely site! I’d like to share my story so it might help. I recently discovered that the angry red and raw skin on my hands is in part due to gluten and breads. I discovered this by accident one morning when I just didn’t have time to finish eating. I ate my yogurt and fruit then rushed out the door without eating my toast. By noon my hands seemed about 30% better-to give it a number. Then, afraid to eat, I only drank coffee for lunch and my hands looked even better. My hands have been raw for 10 years-10 years of painful everything: dish washing, child bathing, even folding clean laundry hurts from the rub. Doctors have only told me that there is no cure for my eczema. I quickly stopped all bread and my hands healed to about 80%. It’s been 4 weeks now. Recently my sweet hubby went out and bought a load of gluten free items for me which I ate up all last week (muffins, pancakes, bagels) and the blistery, itchy, crawling, swollen skin started back up. Not sure what I’m allergic to but it’s seems to be in all bread products and I have a delayed reaction that lasts for weeks.
    What I also wanted to share is that I avoid topical steroid creams as much as possible since I’ve needed such long-term use. I recently discovered apple cider vinegar-this has worked well for me and others swear by it. It stings initially but soothes quickly after. You can cut it with water and apply it with a cotton ball if needed. I just rub it full strength directly onto my hands and once it’s dry I apply Vaseline and cover my hands with cotton gloves.

    • Thanks Jackie, that is amazing. I think there is something in bread which itches my skin too, and I suspect all the mould inhibitors and preservatives and fillers and horrible ingredients in gluten free bread. I’m allergic to wheat and am in chronic pain if I eat any of that, but the GF bread just triggers nodular prurigo that drives me bonkers. Funnily enough, I’ve been washing my hair with rhassoul clay and rinsing with cider vinegar. Boy does that sting but as you say, not for long. The burning passes. I hope it will improve my scalp. Only used it a few times and mixed with water so wish me luck. Thanks for sharing. I hope it helps others, who may be reacting to wheat gluten or bread.

  31. Hi – I’m so glad I’ve found this ‘group’ – it’s heartening to find that others suffer the same kind of allergic reactions. While most of you have food allergies, mine seem to be airborne – largely smoke ! I get complacent when I haven’t had a flare up and breathe in more incidental smoke ie neighbourhood wood stove etc. Mine also seems to be related to sinus congestion which, I think, is exacerbated by the airborne allergens as well. Boy, can I relate to the ‘black cloud descending’. Much to my horror (as I’m supposed to be heading to Cuba on a kayaking trip in 3 days), I felt that a couple of days ago and now am in the midst of a full blown reaction – swollen red undereye ‘bags’! I’ve aged 20 years which as I’m in my sixties isn’t a good thing! Have just popped a prednisone and applied a cortisoid ointment prescriped this morning. Am going to try some of the tips I’ve read and will continue with the ice packs, vitamin C, oil of oregano (hope it doesn’t interact with prednisone), D , and will drink lots of water and tea (will make some ginger tea). Then, after checking for smoke will head out the door for a walk and try to banish thoughts of having to cancel my trip!!!!

    • Hi Louise! I’m glad you found us too. We are here, we’re just all hidden away in secret. Nobody knows about us. Ha Ha. I really hope your latest flare up heals up sufficiently for you to enjoy your holiday. What a pain. Lots of sleep, water and sending healing thoughts your way. I find a bath in Epsom salts helps too with a dash of tea tree oil in it if you can tolerate that.

  32. BrideToBe says:

    Since January 2015 I’vee been getting flare ups almost weekly. My pattern seems to be itch around chin, then forehead and cheeks. Then everything swells most noticably chin and eyelids. The burning is horrendous and having read this I am so buying a mask for the freezer, currently fantasizing about it. At the moment I’m taking fexofenodene 180mg as maintence and double dose when attack happening. At my work they mucked about with aircon and the walls were dripping so I suspect mould. Work has moved me out for now, but at home I jet washed a green patio and got covered and my face is out again. I’m getting married in 4 weeks and I’m terrified, so many people say it must be stress, but surely to goodness stress doesnt make your throat swell. Ive googled hives its not that, my face is shiny sore.
    Anyway am using 0.5hydrocortisone on face today, can barely cope with any cream. I just want to sleep in an igloo with a high tog sleeping bag and feel relief from the burn.
    aam waiting on blood tests for tomato, strawbs, rapeseed oil, hazelnuts after keeping a food diary.
    sob, I’ll be the bride who wore no make up!!!
    Prior to January I have had a particular bad hayfever from youth with it calming in my 30s so this is all new.

  33. I’m desperate. I’ve had a Really bad reaction to a hair dye (Well I think it was) and I’m doing all of the above and the swelling is all over my eyes and neck. It’s not going away. Dreading going into work on Monday. 🙁 I’ve never been offered an episode pen and I. Genuinely scared to fall asleep at night. Urgent care centre didn’t seem too worried about it just changed me from 10mg cetirizine daily to chorephenirimine 4mg every four hours. 30mg prednisilone. It’s not touched it. Could anyone help. please x

  34. Lewis Hammond says:

    Hi Ruth. I’ve been looking through endless forums and pages hoping I find one that gives me an insight into what might be causing my allergic reaction. After reading your passage on coriander something struck a note with me. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve come out with as you quote a ‘sunburn’ on my face in blotches mainly on the forehead and cheeks. After about a week of itchiness and unappealing red blotches the skin crusts up with ointment and peels off revealing a fresh layer. I’ve been keeping a food diary and I believe coriander is now the catalyst as I can trace back to two Pathia curries and Tuna with coriander. The reaction I believe takes about 12 hours to show as it is not until the following morning that it becomes noticeable. I’ve never had a reaction to coriander previously so I’m hoping you might remember when you had the reaction if the same symptoms arose on your skin. Failing that i might have to go back to the drawing board. If it is coriander and you had the same symptoms then your passage from over 4 years ago might have solved my reaction.

  35. I’m wondering if Coriander might be what I’m allergic to as well. I’m one of the rare people that’s allergic to ginger but today I ate Asian food that they said does not have ginger in it, however I still had a bad reaction (close to anaphylaxis). The only thing I can think of is they cross contaminated with ginger or that there was a coriander. I’m also allergic to chai spice which has ginger and coriander in it. If my symptoms don’t subside substantially in the next hour or so (have been reacting for the past 6 hours), then I’ll be rushing over to urgent care for some help. Usually when I’ve had an allergic reaction in the past, I pop a few Benadryl, drink tons of water and the anaphylactic symptoms go away in about 2 hours or so, but this reaction is lingering on unfortunately. My appetite is very low but a big thanks to Ruth for this post as it gave me some advice on what to eat after I come out of this.

  36. I have had allergic reactions most of my life. I finally realized what was causing inflammation in my body and started eliminating stuff and my health improved and I got off the cycle of meds for allergy. I eat organic, and I eat Paleo and that has helped tremendously. No more mucus congestion, no more sore joints, no more brain fog. But this week I had a severe allergic reaction. Worst I had in years and I couldn’t figure out WHAT I had eaten that could have caused it. I knew I was in trouble and I chugged benadryl because I knew I was about to swell up and get really really sick. I started itching internally, and was feeling my tongue swell and I couldn’t stop sneezing to catch my breath. If I had had a e-pen I would have used it, but I haven’t needed it for years. I am FINALLY figuring out it was the potting soil. I am fiercely allergic to mold. And I bought potting soil that I was planting containers with right before lunch. I thought it was the food, but I am convinced it was mold spores in the bag of potting soil. I had my hands in it, I breathed it in. Normally I use gloves but I didn’t. I read an article about mold spores in potting soil, especially organic types, which is what I was using. I didn’t even think about it, because I was thinking I got sick after lunch, so it had to be food related. But it wasn’t lunch at all. So if you have mold sensitivity, wear a mask when you plant containers, wear gloves and clear your nose with a netti pot to make sure you don’t have trouble with this. It was a scary episode and I didn’t make the connection, until today…

  37. Wendy Smith says:

    I have been having flare ups for over 2 years. Eyes swell, sores in my nasal passages, red dry patches on face neck and sores behind my ears and constant sneezing . I changed my hair dye and did a patch test used it and had no immediate reactions but I have just used it again and had the biggest flare up to date . Ears swollen and water dripping from them . Patches in my scalp also weeping and around the hairline sore and red. My whole neck is bright red . I have asked my gp on numerous occassions for an allegy test but she says she doesnt send anyone for them Arghhhhhhh this is so frustrating. I went dairy free for 6 months which wasnt difficult as the only thing I needed to give up was cheese but no luck. The weird thing is I have had IBS , cramping every morning for 30 years but this has improved greatly and now I am left just with the skin complaints. I can empathise greatly with everyone as it is so frustrating .I thought I was hhaving a reaction to my own hormones ( I am 50) and it was linked to the menapause but after this hair dye episode maybe not !

  38. I had an allergy on my face for about a month which progressively got worse when I found foderma serum on google. I read the reviews and decided to give it a shot. The bottle says you need to use it for 12 weeks, however, I’ve seen amazing results in just under a week. The rash is almost gone and my skin is healing nicely. I will continue to use it for the 12 weeks, but it looks like I will be rash free in a few more days.


  1. […] and cleansers can not only be expensive but also may contain synthetic ingredients that may cause allergies, so why not try your own homemade natural skin […]

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