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 Allergic reaction 
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Joined: 16 Sep 2005, 20:27
Posts: 5746
Yesterday afternoon while doing some fencing I had to reach into a bush made up of Medlars and Holly. I immediately started to itch and overnight came up in heavy rash around my neck and back of my head,the only parts of me unclothed. Today my neck has swollen and is very very itchy. I've been to the pharmacy and got some hydrocortizone cream and some anti hystamine tablets,which have eased the itching a bit and my skin is not so inflamed. But does anyone have any ideas of something to relieve the itching. I didn't sleep much last night because of it and it's not feeling to good for tonight.!

Also, has anyone heard of this before from either Medlars or Holly. I've googled it but with no significant results.


08 May 2011, 17:18

Joined: 25 Jun 2008, 08:20
Posts: 14384
Location: Here, there, everywhere, but always in France!
Hi acko

Not nice, you have my sincere sympathy. My grandson is allergic to holly (and other flora!). Although we try our best to keep him away from the bushes, sometimes we're not quick enough - especially if we don't see the shrubs at first!

As soon he starts scratching, we wash the affected area with soap and water, and we're very careful to not allow the water to touch unaffected parts of his body.

But, more often than not, we need to take grandson to the doctor! :(

I'm not a medical person, have just relayed what we do in that situation.

I really hope you feel more comfortable very soon, and that somebody can suggest something for you to achieve comfort.

Kindest regards

08 May 2011, 17:37
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Joined: 19 Nov 2006, 13:59
Posts: 3464
Location: Was 24 Near Sarlat, now Lincoln for a while
Germaline works for me as does E45 anty-itch cream.

Please help us to help you, remember to put your department number & nearest town on your profile.
Thank you.

08 May 2011, 17:55
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Joined: 08 Dec 2003, 15:29
Posts: 8566
Location: Gone
There's a "chemical" and a "mechanical" reaction possible to many plants...although yours sounds more "chemical". I got a horrible reaction (not uncommon) to what I subsequently discovered was Rue...huge blisters and a residual rash that looked like I'd been badly burned, and lasted for a good 3 months. Apparently, with that (and a number of similar reactions) exposure to sunlight actually triggers and exacerbates the reaction. Oddly, that one didn't itch at all...

Too late, but Chrissie's advice to wash the exposed area well (and quickly) is probably the soundest, and if you have to plunge into the undergrowth again, dress up first like an extra from CSI.

Anything that has a "cooling" effect on your skin (aloe vera gel, witch hazel gel, even just a cold compress) might help you to feel more comfortable, but more than likely you're just going to have to grit your teeth and put up with a few days of discomfort. :cry:

The revolution is just a T-shirt away....

08 May 2011, 17:59

Joined: 03 Sep 2010, 20:22
Posts: 5227
Location: Potatoshire and North Yorkshire
If at all possible avoid rubbing or scratching the affected areas - this will just damage the mast cells in the dermis that will then release further histamine. In fact I sometimes wonder if the rubbing-in of hydrocortisone or other anti-allergy cream doesn't just make matters worse by causing more histamine release. I think all you can really do now is let the rash disappear.

It is likely that this reaction will occur every time you contact these particular plants again so you need to avoid contact in the future - but then I'm sure that's hardly news!

It's also worth avoiding direct sunshine on the rash until it clears otherwise you could get some nasty blisters.

Not much help really, sorry.

08 May 2011, 18:01

Joined: 16 Sep 2005, 20:27
Posts: 5746
Thanks for the replies so far. I did come in and shower when the itching started.

I guess I'm just going to have to grit my teeth and bear it :cry:

08 May 2011, 18:17

Joined: 10 Feb 2007, 23:56
Posts: 808
Location: Ribérac, 24600.
A long, long time ago, when I was little ...... we had a medlar tree in our garden. It was OK to climb, so long as my big brother gave me a leg up, but there was something about the tree that I didn't like and I'm pretty certain that it made me itchy - not in the way you describe but nevertheless itchy.

So I've just done a search on Google for 'medlar, itchy rash,' and apparently it can be a cause of hives which I believe can be very unpleasant.

There are plenty of links but here's one anyway so now if you can't sleep for the itching you can spend the night reading up about hives :lol:

I hope that helps and that your rash is soon a lot better.

Edit: hmm, actually there aren't plenty of links about it and that seems to be a homeopathy diagnosis only. #-o

08 May 2011, 21:33

Joined: 27 Jan 2011, 23:48
Posts: 544
Location: St Eutrope de Born, (47)
What you are sufferring is a histamine reaction to one of the plants concerned. The most effective treatment is an antihistamine tablet but you may have to repeat it over 2-3 days before the itching goes. It will come and go meanwhile. Keep cool - heat will increase the blood supply to the area and make it more itchy. To that end a cool bath or even a cool shower may lower the reaction and increase your chance of getting some sleep. Scratching will only increase the reaction so wear some light cotton gloves wheen in bed will reduce the risk of scratching in your sleep.

This is the advice I would give in my job as a senior nurse advisor with NHS Direct.

09 May 2011, 09:04

Joined: 16 Sep 2005, 20:27
Posts: 5746
Thanks very much. I've been taking anti histamine tablets and I can report that it's much improved today. It's still very itchy though. It was so hot and itchy that I couldn't touch it even if I wanted to.

09 May 2011, 09:24
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