My DH has some sort of food allergy, and we can't figure out what it is. We've been analyzing what he eats and trying to narrow down possible culprits - dairy, gluten, etc. However, we're starting to become suspicious that he mostly has reactions after eating in restaurants. His face swells, his eczema flares, and he spends a completely miserable night, itching and unable to sleep. It takes a few days to recover.
Is it possible that he's allergic to something specifically used in restaurants? A coloring, preservative, etc? Does anybody have any stories to share in that regard?
I don't have any stories to share, but just some advice. You need to stop going to restaurants for a while to see if his reactions flare up without them. Then you need to start going again, one at a time. I could imagine environmental and chemical allergies as well as food allergies as the culprit . If his face is swelling, it's serious.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
I took a sensitivities test that informed me I was having an allergic response to a number of foods. Among them - olives, potatoes, peas. These are in a lot of products and readily available when eating out so it made things difficult. Staying away from them for a while has helped quite a bit. Still don't eat them, but I can eat out and when the places cook with EVOO it doesn't affect me as it did before. I think lowering the allergen load is key.
Also, I've done a lot of acupuncture over the last year-plus.
A traditional IgE (what MD allergists test for) negative on an allergy test is upwards of 90%+ accurate. A positive test is about 50% accurate so the odd in traditional testing aren't great. Alternative testing is even less accurate and more costly with often VERY limiting exclusions when there is no scientific merit to the testing
I don't know the name of the test. Cost was $200, I believe. My nutritionist (visits covered by Medicare, btw) helped me order it. There was a fast, a blood draw and . . . urine? feces?
Once I eliminated those foods I also had to rotate and keep a strict food diary (so much easier with an app!). In the end the combination of keeping the diary (which made me more aware) and muscle testing helped. I know muscle testing is too "woo-woo" for some. My background is very solidly in biological science, but all that background couldn't explain what was happening. More to the point, I found the muscle testing to work for me so long as I kept in mind it's potential and limitations and remained open to it. "Forcing" anything resulted in confusion and misinformation. It's definitely something that becomes a lot easier and more informative with practice and exposure.
Your cheapest option is to do the muscle testing (before *every* meal), keep the food diary, rotate and see an acupuncturist. You can also get the test to give you a baseline to work from. It's a lot of work, but better to do it before you get as desperate as I was.
Keep the vitamin C and baking soda on hand. (I have a travel kit in my purse. I also carry activated charcoal, but that's really a preventative - not a treatment option.) That's the cheapest most effective solution. You may also want to keep some Benadryl (dye-free is better) on hand.
I feel your husband's pain. I have had severe allergies all of my life, many of them to foods. So here is the good & bad about allergy testing. Skin testing (what most allergists usually do) is usually very accurate for adults, but there is no way to test for everything. So here was what I had to do. Avoid anything I had tested positive for, even if it was a slight allergy. Then only eat food prepared at home for 2 months while keeping a detailed food diary. If there are reactions, we try to narrow down what the reaction was to (we kept a big white board with possibilities). Once we got home under control (which was very quickly, we would venture out (no more than one restaurant every 3 days if there was no reaction). If I had a reaction, we would write it down, and then were able to find if the trigger was the food or the restaurant.
In my case, the problem with the restaurant is cross contamination, for example some seafood places prep seafood (esp shrimp) wile wearing latex gloves. I was reacting to the residual latex on the food, not the food item itself. Thai restaurants cook with a lot of coconut milk, I am highly allergic, so if they use the same utensils for stirring, serving, etc, I can have a reaction. I can not eat any fried foods in a place that serves coconut shrimp. Also, some people do not understand that butter, cream, and cheese are all dairy products, they just think about milk.
We have a list of restaurants that we do not eat at, and if we are eating somewhere I have never eaten, I know there are certain foods that are safer than others. I have also had reactions to things (like meats and eggs) because of an antibiotic allergy, not an allergy to the food itself, which also does not show up on a skin test.