You’re Allergic to What? Strange but True Allergic Reactions.

If you think that allergic reactions are only to common place allergens such as peanuts, pollens, and latex, think again. You can be allergic to pretty much anything. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out the allergen. Other times, not so easy.

For example, check out these 10 strange but true allergic reactions…

Cell Phones – there has been increasing number of patients presenting with contact dermatitis because they are allergic to the nickel in their cell phones.

Chairs, Flutes and Other Items With Nickel – children developing rashes on the back of their legs, a result of sitting on classroom chairs with nickel-plated studs. And for one child, playing a flute containing nickel resulted in severe dermatitis of the lips.

Black Henna Tattoos – can result in severe swelling and skin blistering if you are allergic to p-phenylenediamine (PPD), a hair dye that makes henna darker. It can also cause permanent scarring, as might be the case with this 3 year old who faces lifelong Bart Simpson scar after suffering reaction to henna tattoo.

Allergic to Dad? - When a young girl developed hives after she hugged and kissed her father when he returned home from work, her doctor did some detective work and figured out that she was allergic to the nut-derived oil in her father’s shaving cream.

Chocolate – Imagine being allergic to chocolate. It’s rare but possible, as this case, involving a young boy already allergic to numerous foods, proved.

Exercise – yes really, it is possible to be allergic to exercise. Like chocolate allergies, it is rare but exercise-induced anaphylaxis does exist, displaying all the signs and symptoms of a peanut allergy.

Hot and Cold – for the very few, it is possible develop heat-induced or cold-induced urticaria or hives. And some are even allergic to water – aquagenic urticaria.

Hairy Caterpillars – the hairs, which contain a toxin that results in a severe allergic reaction, fly off the caterpillar much like dandelion seeds and become airborne allergens.

Asian Ladybugs – also known as multicolored Asian lady beetles, these ladybugs don’t like the cold and can often be found congregating in houes and can cause allergic symptoms which including hay fever, coughing, wheezing and watery eyes.

Cancer Drug – Cetuximab, a drug used to treat colon and head and neck cancer seemed to cause allergic reactions in patients from certain parts of the U.S.

Read more about the allergic reactions and how doctors figured out the culprits in this ABC news article.

But wait, here’s more unusual but true allergic reactions…

Allergic to Sperm

Allergic to the sun

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    • Merry

      Oh, thank you! I’m feeling quite normal now. Apparently it’s not weird to be allergic to mascara. (Or at least, it’s not significantly weird enough to rate a mention here.)

    • James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Thanks for the education.
      If someone comes to my office with urticaria, and there is not obvious source, it becomes a detective game. More times than I like to think, the patient and I lose the game. It’s on to the allergist.
      This gives me more ideas to think about.

    • Liz

      Hi Merry, glad to be of assistance. If you google ‘mascara allergies’, you get over 300,000 links – definitely a common issue.

    • Liz

      Hi James,

      It does sound like docs end up as detectives when trying to find cause of allergy. I had bad case of urticaria a few years ago and we never figured out the cause. Thankfully, it only lasted a long two weeks and hasn’t returned (fingers crossed)

    • Sarah

      I happen to be allergic to strawberries (artificial and regular flavorings). The doctors don’t know why, but for some reason it’s just the taste and not only the strawberry itself. So, to test this theory, a friend of mine said she tried a kind of banana that tasted exactly like strawberries and I’m going to eat one and see what happens. But I break out in large, itchy welts and sometimes my throat closes off (sometimes even by the smell), and my doctor refuses to let me have an EpiPen, so I might just hold off on that plan. =]

    • Liz

      Hi Sarah, can’t imagine being allergic to strawberries. It would run my summer. But if you are, then best stay away…

    • Humairah Irfan

      I had black and red henna done @ my wedding earlier this year.. and after 10 days, I had terrible burning and itching. It was horrible.. and now I have scars on my arms all the way upto my elbow. I can’t wear anything that’s not full-sleeves…
      I hope there’s a solution, I really want to find one!
      Know any Liz?

    • Liz

      Hi Humairah, sorry to hear about your allergic reactions. Sound painful and annoying. I’m sure there must be an answer out there to help with the scarring but am afraid I don’t know what it is. Try doing some google searchs using different keywords ie ‘henna tattoos and scarring’ ‘henna tattoos and allergic reaction’ and you might come up with some answers. And if you do, please let us know.

    • Fit Bottomed Girls

      I think I have a minor exercise allergy. Or, I guess, I’m allergic to wearing pants when working out. My legs get itchy and tingling if I’m wearing pants and running. Yikes!

    • Liz

      Me too!!!