My Paleo MD emailed an interesting article on Urticaria to help me whittle down what could be causing this episodic, mysterious rash (as you can see in the photo the rash appears in symmetric fashion, below both arm pits, also between the breasts, mid-belly and mid-back, and pubic area). One possible cause that jumped out at me while reading the article was latex cross-reactivity in fruits and vegetables.
A little history: When I started my first laboratory job, I used latex gloves with cornstarch powder on a daily basis. Within weeks of working and wearing latex gloves, I was sent to the emergency room with a terrible rash on my hands, more concentrated at the hair follicles between my knuckles. The ER doc diagnosed me with contact dermatitis, but wasn’t sure if latex was the cause or the cornstarch powder that lines the inner gloves to prevent sweating. As a precaution I was told to steer clear of latex.
I soon decided for myself that latex was the culprit because years prior I experienced very painful intercourse and couldn’t understand why. Latex condoms! So, okay…stay away from latex condoms and latex gloves. Case closed, right? Well, the article states,
Patients who are latex-protein allergic may also react to a wide variety of foods…because of cross-reactivity between the latex protein antigens and food antigens or, if they are highly sensitized, they may develop symptoms after eating food-stuffs which have been handled by workers wearing latex gloves…
I’m about to embark on yet another experiment – this time removing fruits and vegetables known to cause urticaria in those with latex allergies. Foods that have a high frequency of cross-reactivity with latex proteins are avocados, bananas, and chestnuts. Those with moderate frequency are apple, carrot, celery, kiwi, melon, papaya, potato, and tomato.
Because I’m following a Ketogenic Diet, I’ve already removed many of the foods listed. So for the next two months I will omit avocados and celery.
As described on this Food Allergies Database
Avocado allergy can take two different forms: one associated with allergy to tree pollen, such as birch, and another type associated with latex allergy. People with birch-pollen allergy can develop symptoms either immediately or up to 1 hour after eating fresh avocado or an avocado-containing food. Symptoms comprise local reactions in the mouth and throat with itching and inflammation (called oral allergy syndrome, OAS).
Others develop an avocado allergy because of the similarity between the allergens in avocado and natural rubber latex (e.g. gloves, condoms, balloons) a condition known as the latex-fruit syndrome. Symptoms developed by these individuals comprise generalized urticaria, abdominal pain, vomiting and sometimes life-threatening symptoms…
Another possible answer to my rash could be my migraine abortive Axert. A known adverse side effect is hives.
Along with avocados, I’m going to remove canned fish and once again remove eggs in case histamine is the cause. As you can tell, I’m attempting to combat this rash through multiple approaches. And if I can knock out migraines in the process, that will end the need for Axert and its potential side effect of hives.