How I Treat Reactions
Obviously I do my best to make safe decisions and not react. That’s what this blog is all about. But there are circumstances out of my control pretty often, especially since I’m somewhat sensitive to airborne corn (not nearly as bad as some, but bad enough), and honestly yeah, I do just screw up. My diet is pretty limited right now so I *have* to try new things. I am usually very careful and when a food fails I only deal with a very mild reaction before I call it quits, but sometimes I mess up, and sometimes the food is SO corny that trying only small amount causes a major reaction.
So when I do react, this is what I use:
- 25-50 mg benadryl, compounded in gelatin capsules from Letco and safe filler provided by me
- 150mg zantac, compounded in gelatin capsules with no filler.
If my reaction is severe, I dump the benadryl capsules out into water and drink, which helps it take effect faster. I have in a pinch dumped the capsules directly into my mouth without water, however that makes my tongue and throat numb everywhere it touches, which is a scary feeling when your allergic reaction is throat swelling. More information on getting corn-free benadryl.
After a reaction it will usually take me at least a day to recover, sometimes up to 10 days if it was a bad one. If I had to epi and go to the ER, I could be toxxed out for *weeks*. My tongue will burn every time I eat something and I will just feel like I’m mild-to-medium reacting constantly, or about to react. I call it “feeling full-buckety.” There’s no real cure for this other than time and lots of water, but there are a few things I do to help move the toxins out of my system faster.
Important: If you are having an anaphylactic reaction, simply taking Benadryl is not enough. It works too slowly even if you dump it out like I sometimes do, and also will not stop anaphylaxis once it starts. Because antihistamines block the receptors that stimulate your mast cells to release histamines, blocking those receptors does not reduce the histamines already in your system. It is better used to *prevent* reactions.
If you are in doubt, epi. If you epi, always go to the hospital, period.
Mayo Clinic Article on how to treat anaphylaxis
Manitoba, Canada public health department info in treating anaphylaxis
How I Detox After A Reaction
- Bentonite clay baths or foot soaks in clay from Living Clay Company. I have only tried the pure bentonite clay (sold as the “detox clay powder”) and not any other products. I am on their mailing list and wait until they have free shipping promotions and then order large quantities at a time. I rarely have time for a full bath but I find that the foot soaks are 80% as effective as a full bath and easy to do often.
- Bentonite Clay taken internally, with LOTS of water, to help absorb toxins/allergens and move them through the system faster. I find this works better than activated charcoal at detoxing after a reaction, but I am mentioning both options.
- Activated Charcoal, taken internally, for the same purpose as the bentonite clay. Again, lots of water to flush it through your system! I am no longer recommending the charcoal I’ve been using because I asked the manufacturer what the plant source was and they *didn’t know. Also it has come to my attention that there are different methods of “activating” charcoal. The manufacturer of CharcoCaps brand activated charcoal has assured me that their charcoal is from coconut husks and is steam-activated rather than acid activated. Since I don’t find it okay that they don’t know what is in their product, and also realize that they could change at any time and I’d have to find out by reacting to it, I will probably go with that after my current bottle runs out. Note that there is a “homeopathic remedy” from CharcoCaps that has lots of iffy ingredients, that is NOT what you want. You want this stuff.
- Epsom salt baths and foot soaks- I am sulfur sensitive so I don’t do this anymore but it does help many. Dr Teal’s unscented epsom salts are available at Kroger, Costco, Target, and on Amazon, and are safe for most.
Again, I don’t find it awesome that I am taking daily medication to prevent reactions, or that I am so practiced at treating reactions. It is MUCH better to focus on healing if possible. But you gotta do what you gotta do, and that’s what I do.
A Note on Zantac: Antacids to treat allergic reactions??!
When I have gone to the ER for an allergic reaction, they have given me two intravenous injections: Benadryl (diphenhydramine), and Zantac (ranitidine). The first time I got an injection of Zantac, I was totally confused. Isn’t that a medication for acid reflux?
Well, yes it is, but the mechanism by which it does that is by blocking (antagonizing) histamine receptors. Compare to proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec (omeprazole). Prilosec actually stops the production of stomach acid, while Zantac stops the signals for gastric acid secretion *and* allergic reactions from being noticed.
H1 and H2 blockers taken together are significantly more effective in treating an allergic reaction than either one taken on their own.
Because of this, a number of folks with anaphylactic food allergies take a daily preventative H1 and H2 blocker. I’m one of them. I don’t hope to be on this kind of medication for the rest of my life. For one thing, H2 blockers have a number of effects on vitamin and mineral absorption over the long timer, including interfering with absorption of vitamin B12. Also, taking drugs just masks symptoms, and I’d much rather find the cause of the problem and heal. But I’m totally okay with doing it right now to reduce the possibility of a life-threatening reaction.
What I Use Daily
I am no longer doing the below daily at home, only during heavy seasonal allergy season or when traveling.
- 5mg levocetirizine (xyzal), compounded in a gelatin capsule daily.
- 150mg ranitidine, compounded in a gelatin capsule, no filler, twice daily
If I am traveling or know I will be exposed to a lot of triggers, I go ahead and take a prophylactic benadryl in the morning and at night. The benadryl is compounded and I take 25mg at the same time as the ranitidine, morning and night. More if needed. More on what I do when I travel.
About getting Xyzal compounded.