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Hi everyone,

I've just joined this board in the hopes of finding some helpful tips as well as commiseration (though I don't wish this on anyone). I have some sort of skin condition that also affects my breathing & taste sense. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said it's probably an allergic reaction to something, although in the absence of any visible evidence on my skin, he can't really explain what it is. He sent me to an allergist, and I have an app't next week. In the meantime, I'll ask you and hopefully gain some insight.

(Please forgive the numbered-list format - I wanted to list everything about it without editorializing too much.)

1. Sensation of ‘powder’ or ‘dust’ on my hands. Similar reaction to being around pets (dog, cat) but usually after exposure to animals I wash hands, take a shower, and put exposed clothing in laundry, and the condition is gone. This time it doesn’t go away and hasn’t since it began on Oct. 1, 2008.
[INDENT]a. Same sensation in my scalp and eyebrows. Probably exists all over my skin but is most felt in areas not covered by clothing.[/INDENT]

2. Soon as I wash it off (eg, shower, wash hands or face) it comes right back.
[INDENT]a. Sometimes visible on my hands, especially when I put part of my hands under running water and can see the contrast between wet and dry parts; looks like a thin film of fine dust.[/INDENT]

3. Bitter taste in my mouth, usually avoided until somehow the ‘powder’ gets into my mouth via touch, even if the touch is slight. Food and drink do not eliminate it.
[INDENT]a. Sometimes there’s a sensation of having granules in my mouth, not expelled by spitting, sometimes reduced by using mouthwash.[/INDENT]

4. ‘Powder’ causes itch wherever it comes into contact; eg, if I have the ‘powder’ on my hands and I scratch my ear, my ear will begin to itch. That usually stops with washing. Itch has sensation of being bitten or stung, but there is no evidence of infestation anywhere.

5. ‘Powder’ sticks to my woolly clothes and hats; even seems to intensify. Spreads from me to clothing, from clothing to clothing, then back to me, ad nauseam.
[INDENT]a. Laundry and dry cleaning don’t remove it. (I have spent a huge amount of money on laundry and dry cleaning in the last 2 months, much more than normally necessary.)
b. Sometimes diminished temporarily by vacuuming out clothing item, such as lining of coat, but it doesn’t stay ‘powder’-free for too long. Besides, I shouldn’t have to vacuum my clothes out before I wear them.
c. Can others feel the ‘powder’ as well, after touching affected clothing? Maybe not allergic, but at least to know it’s there.[/INDENT]

6. Breathing ‘powder’ (eg, when wearing affected clothing) causes coughing, sometimes sneezing.

7. Is it an allergen? Where does it come from? What am I allergic to?
[INDENT]a. Dust mites?
b. Bedbugs? No evidence of them anywhere in my bedding. No insect bites or rashes on my person.
c. Lice? No evidence of them, even after shampooing with lice shampoo. Condition came back almost immediately after shampooing.
d. Pet dander? I have no pets, and the previous tenant had no pets. I previously lived in a large house with a dog and two cats (not mine) but didn’t have the problem when I lived there, only when I left and moved into my new apartment. Reaction is same as if I was around pets, though (see #1 above).
e. Carpet? New carpet installed several months before I moved in, and shampooed about a week before I moved in.
f. Water? Grew up in this town and visited periodically in the ensuing years since moving away, but I never had the problem before.
g. Vegetation, eg, outside around the house?
h. Soap, detergent?[/INDENT]

8. How can I get rid of it, permanently?

9. Store-bought hand sanitizer reduces effect but does not eliminate problem.

10. Doctor prescribed antihistamine, which reduces itching, coughing, and sneezing, but doesn’t make ‘powdery’ sensation go away.

That's all ... any and all advice would be appreciated!

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