I don’t mean for this to turn into a blog about my health problems, but I think I finally figured out an allergic reaction that has been stumping me for years. About seven years ago I mysteriously started getting outbreaks of small blisters on the fingers of my right hand. They would start out as little fluid filled bumps that would eventually break open, leaving my skin very rough and itchy. Since this happened about once a week, my skin would never actually heal in those spots. I was dating a medical-ish student at the time and she decided it was a fungus. It wasn’t. The next logical assumption was an allergic reaction to some chemical I was getting on my hand. I systematically went through the list of everything I touched with my right hand. At first I thought it was some kind of soap. I washed my car once a week, maybe that? Nope. Ok, maybe it was the hand-soap at work? Nope. I decided it must be the dish-soap, so I started wearing rubber gloves to wash dishes. I saw no change and decided it must be a latex allergy. Of course, the gloves I was wearing to wash dishes were made of Latex, so I bought a non-latex type. Still no change. I was getting blisters on my hand every week. I did go to the doctor about it. I got what I expected, a 15 second conversation and a prescription for a steroid creme. The creme didn’t help.
About the same time all this was happening I discovered I was allergic to eel. The grocery store near my work started selling fresh sushi, which became my new favorite lunch item. I quickly drew a link between the eel rolls I loved so much and these little red dots that would appear on my skin near my eyes. The dots were kind of like a pimple but not quite. Although small, they were still very noticeable. Unfortunately, it took forever for them to go away: sometimes more than a month, just from eating one eel roll.
Alas, I stopped eating eel and all was right with the world again. Then just this year the same thing started happening with salmon and talapia. I’ve never had a problem with these types of fish before. My suspicion is that I’m not actually allergic to the fish but rather something the fish farmers are feeding them, maybe all those antibiotics or the pink dye they give the farm raised salmon (to give it that natural appetizing color).
With wedding season in full swing, I decided to give up fish for the summer. I didn’t want red dots on my face for a series of social engagements. After giving up fish for two months, my hand has been blister free for the first time in years. How about that? I was allergic to fish this whole time. Odd allergy. I always thought a food allergy was systemic. It’s crazy to think only a very specific patch of skin would have an adverse reaction.
I’m sure there are some other people out there with the same condition. I did read one post on a dermatologist’s website by a person who described the red dots around his eyes exactly as I have had them. He even listed all pills and medication he took. One of those pills was a 1000mg fish oil capsule. The dermatologist, replied with: must be eczema, you need a steroid creme. Ha!