Housekeeping Tips for Environmental Allergens

This started for my spouse’s dermatographism after testing positive to almost all environmental triggers (dust mite, pollen, mold, cat and dog, etc.). This may all be due to mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). In real life my partner reacts to dust mite, some pollens, cats, and possibly mold.

No fragrance (soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent, lotion, cosmetics, etc.).

No harsh cleaners (vinegar, baking soda suffice for most jobs).

Hot wash and dry all sheets, pillow covers, blanket covers, etc. at least once every two weeks. Dust mite reproduce in a month.

Use a dust mite proof mattress cover.

On a side note, it may actually help to NOT make your bed. Dust mite thrive in moist, warm environments. Expose your bed to the cool and dry air. Hang blanket over headboard or something if possible.

No carpets, if possible.

Vacuum frequently (at least once a week) with a model that has hepa filters.

Ventilate. Ventilate. Ventilate. Keep everything dry.

Keep an eye out for any spots that tends to hold moisture for mold growth.

Treat with vinegar at first sight of any mold.

Be very careful about using chemical insecticide, try to find alternatives. Diatomaceous earth maybe?

Dermatographic Urticaria

What is it?

Also called “skin writing”, where friction (scratching or some other contact) causes red hives or raised skin.

Cause?

Likely an overabundance of histamine in the body. Some possibilities might be mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), environmental allergens, mild chronic food issues, high histamine foods, histamine releasing foods, or body does not break down histamine well due to lack of enzymes such as diamine oxidase?

Ways to control?

Aside from antihistamines, our allergist at the time recommended better control of environmental factors such as dust mite control and removing fragrance. Also to avoid tomatoes and berries (histamine releasing foods?).

What happened?

My partner’s dermatographism disappeared along with our diet experiments but at the same time we started better management for environmental allergens as well, so it is not clear what was the main culprit. Regardless this didn’t come back except for a brief return during travel when we had much more fermented foods and was in a dusty environment. So again, not sure which is the cause, or perhaps it is both.

Insecticide Incident

Several years ago we almost killed ourselves trying to rid our home of ants. Of course this is a slight exaggeration, but our health issues flared for nearly a year after spraying our kitchen and ultimately led us down the path of diet experiments. We now know better than to turn to chemicals first.

Between the two of us, a couple of issues that seemed to be linked to the insecticide was extremely heavy periods that lasted nearly a year and hives covering the whole body that just wouldn’t go away for weeks even with antihistamines. It only calmed down later doctor prescribed prednisone (steroid).

This reminded me of my aversion to bug repellent or mosquito killers as far back as I can remember. Family used to tease me that I was a bug in a past life. Does salicylate (as nature’s pesticide/ insecticide) sensitivity or multiple chemical sensitivity have a connection to repulsion toward strong scents and insecticides?

Questions from Celiac Disease

Wheat/ gluten is the best studied, but for other foods how can you know if you might actually have an autoimmune issue like celiac disease and not an allergy?

This matters because, if one has an autoimmune disease like celiac, even if there are no noticeable symptoms (silent celiac), you must strictly avoid. Whereas the guidelines for allergies might be to eat at your tolerance level so that you can gradually desensitize.

What if, even below the threshold for symptoms one is causing harm to oneself as in the case of celiac? What if we just don’t know that yet for other foods?

For allergies there is also the possibility of outgrowing the sensitivity so it is recommended to periodically test tolerance, whereas for celiac disease you need to avoid for life.