Chili peppers get under my skin

I went to Rubio’s for a fish taco  lunch today with my wife and several friends.  Sounds pretty innocent, right?   But not for me.   Imagine if you were out somewhere and you saw a sign that the area has poison ivy.  Would you deliberately roll in it?   Or more specifically,  if you had a peanut allergy, would you deliberately have a PB & J sandwich?

Normally, I am very cautious after determining in 2015 that I have a food allergy.  I have a skin reaction, angioedema, to the trace chemical capsaicin found in chili peppers, bell peppers and paprika.    All my life I have eaten spicy Chinese or Mexican food containing seasoning or cut up peppers  – all containing capsaicin!    For the most recent six or seven years, I had periodic ‘stomach flu’ which a couple times a year would result in a hospital stay.  And then over a couple years, I would have angioedema – bloating in my face, lips, tongue, feet and elsewhere randomly appearing in between the flu.

Imagine my surprise, after a allergist appointment finding nothing unusual,  that my symptoms disappeared UNTIL I ate food containing chilis or green peppers!   These have been a staple at my house for decades, so now I get separate dishes with onions , radishes and garlic to provide the kick I enjoy but cannot stomach.    I avoid anything remotely containing vague spices or chili powders and sauces, or bell peppers.

But today,  armed with the knowledge I can mitigate my “Elephant Man” reaction with Fexofenadine (Allegra) and Benadryl,  I threw caution to the wind.

Anybody can live dangerously. It takes a special kind of fool to deliberately get in the ring with a food allergy.  But I am my wife’s special kind of fool.


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