My mystery allergy is revealed at last.
I spent a good portion of the afternoon today in the office of Dr. Karl Baumgart, an allergy specialist. He was great. Not only did he finally identify the stuff that’s making me feel crappy, but he also managed to explain a lot of random secondary symptoms I didn’t realize were related. After talking to me for a while, he brought out the skin prickers. Basically there were these four plastic things, each of which had six metal spikes on them (like cleats). He dipped them all in my suspected allergans and then stuck them into my forearms. Within minutes I started swelling up and itching intensely. It turns out that I’m severely allergic to dust mites, with minor allergies to three different kinds of Australian grass. He also told me that I have a touch of “allergic conjunctivitis”, which I was relieved to learn does not mean I have pink eye. (It means I have itchy, watery eyes and dark circles.) I don’t have a food allergy as such, but certain things (like the preservatives in wine) will irritate my sinuses and bring on a reaction. I have to use allergy pills and spray for four months, boil all my bedding, and get hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers. Then I have to go back for a checkup. If I haven’t improved, I have to get a “scan” of my sinuses to see if I need surgery. Then we’d begin “desensitization” treatment, which (as I understand it) involves them injecting me with the stuff I’m allergic to. Yeah, I want to try to avoid that.
But at least I know what I’m up against now! Dust mites are my arch enemy.