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Allergic reactions to stings after chemo?

marywh Member Posts: 1,433

Just wondering if anyone has had this problem. I have been on chemo off and on for 5 years. In that period Ive made 5 trips to the emergency room with severe reactions to insect bites. These being so severe I carry an epi-pin around with me. Ive gone into anaphylactic shock once. Allergists want you off all meds for 10 days before they can start testing you, so that is out of the question. I really have no idea what is stinging me, I have a feeling they're ants, but not sure. Any one else have this problem and what did you do about it?


  • jocanuck1951
    jocanuck1951 Member Posts: 214
    edited July 2013

    I was pretty sure it was Luanne that was hospitalized from a spider bite. Jo

  • blainejennifer
    blainejennifer Member Posts: 441
    edited July 2013


    On what body part are you getting the bites? And, can you recall about what time of day you are getting them? Different insects have specific bite signatures. I'll take the data and pester my entymologist friends.

    Off the top of my head, I can only offer standard insect avoidance advice, like don't use scented body products, wear long pants and long sleeved clothing (I know, in the summer, that's a huge penance), and practice extra caution at dusk and dawn, as those are high activity periods for bugs. Have you thought of using mosquito netting over your bed at night? And, could it be possible that you have bed bugs? You can google how to check for bed bugs, as they leave little buggy feces deposits that look like flea dirt.

    Allergists may want you off all meds for ten days to get a clear result, but if you are presenting with such huge effects from the bites, I'll bet they can go ahead with skin tests and get a pretty decent result. Push back at the allergist, and see if you can't get a skin test panel run.

    Hoping you get answers soon,


  • marywh
    marywh Member Posts: 1,433
    edited July 2013

    Hi guys, thanks for the replies. Most of the time it has been early evening, right before dusk. Sunday it was the middle of the afternoon, and I was standing on the front porch. Did not feel anything stinging me, came in and the reaction was immediate. Hives, nausea, fast heartbeat, eyes swelling shut. so I know it was Something. Never found the bug or where it stung me. I do wear long pants most of the time, and never seem to get stung anywhere but my yard. I am really careful about where I walk, as I know that I Do have a reaction to fire ants.Drs. at the er could not find any thing either so it went as undetertmined allergy reaction.

  • susan_02143
    susan_02143 Member Posts: 2,394
    edited July 2013

    My ancedotal experience is that women with breast cancer seem to have a higher incidence of either getting or already having an autoimmune disorder. [Both my sister and I were diagnosed with Graves Disease 7 years after chemo, as an example. ]It sounds as though your immune system is over-responding to whatever the irritant is. You might want to consider talking with your doctors about having an Epi-Pen and/or benadryl rx handy just in case you have one of these reactions farther away from a hospital.


  • Rosevalley
    Rosevalley Member Posts: 1,664
    edited July 2013

    Ask your PCP if taking allergy tabs round the clock might dampen this trigger happy reaction. Or something that blocks histamines. Don't go self medicating before you check out with med provider, allergist or pharmacist since you have had severe reactions and are on the chemos. Risky. Maybe you need something in your system all the time to just tell your body to relax and not go to war on a moments notice.

  • Fitztwins
    Fitztwins Member Posts: 144
    edited July 2013

    I welt up now with every mosquito bite now, and they are freaking horrible right now!

  • justjudie
    justjudie Member Posts: 196
    edited July 2013

    Marywh, I think JoCanuck1951 is right.  Not long ago LuAnn posted about very bad problems from spider bites she was getting in her house and maybe yard too.  You may want to PM her as she may have gone through some allergy testing or whatever.  

    Bon, you have definitely won the over the top prize for horrendous spider bites!  Imagine the nerve of her to bury her disgusting eggs in your face?  Omigod.  I would have freaked out so bad I would probably still be screaming!!  That was the worst for sure. 

  • Rosevalley
    Rosevalley Member Posts: 1,664
    edited July 2013

    Wow eggs laid in the wound?? Jeez that does top disgusting. Gross.

    Fitztwins: I feel your pain. I spent many summers up at my Great grandparents cabin in Michigan. They have mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. Vicious. The worse mosquitoes were at the Jersey shore when the winds would change coming off the inland rather then the ocean... OMG they could carry you away! Years ago when I was a 19, I went into a family practice clinic on Long Beach Island with welts nearly the size of CDs. I had no appointment. They took me right away. The doctor didn't even charge me, since I was a student working for the summer. He said "what did this to you?" I said Mosquito bites. He said, "Wow all my years here and I have never seen such a reaction." He gave me a drug called periactin. Tiny pills that knocked me right out! But I'll tell you what, all the bites that were huge hot and red disappeared. Worked great.  It's been so many years ago I had forgotten about it. I don't even know if they still make that drug.

    Funny I have been bitten a zillion times since but the only insane reactions to mosquito bites were at the Jersey shore. Makes you wonder if that species of mosquito in that location carries something that causes a worse reaction. I don't know. Good luck.