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Sulfa Allergy? Wierd reaction, scary symptoms. HELP???

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Old 03-08-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 7
Phoenix126 HB User
Sulfa Allergy? Wierd reaction, scary symptoms. HELP???

I'm really trying to figure this out, so please read this, and if you've ever seen a reaction like this to sulfa antibiotics (or anything, for that matter), please let me know. I've been searching everywhere.

Anyway, I know I had a bad reaction to a sulfa antibiotic, but even I'm actually not sure if this is defined as an allergy, or an intolerance, or something else altogether. I've seen all types of general allergic reactions - hives, rashes, swelling, fever, wheezing, anaphylactic shock - but this was NOT any of those, and I'm trying to figure out what it is. I'm not even sure if it's an allergy, or something else.

I was a teen when this happened, and wasn't taken to the doctor, so I didn't get to find out anything at time. I'd be content leaving this alone, but recently I found myself feeling similar symptoms, but I hadn't taken any sulfa antibiotics. Still, it reminded me very distinctly of the incident, so I'm trying to piece it together.

So, when I was a teenager, I had a sinus infection, and the doctor prescribed a sulfa antibiotic. A while after I took the first dose, I started to feel a bit weird, but I was sitting down, not doing anything physical, so I figured it was from the sinus infection. I was sitting at the table, and I went to lift my coffee cup, and got it a few inches off the table, and realized that I didn't have the strength to lift it the rest of the way. I tried to stand up, and discovered that I felt light-headed, woozy, and weak. I needed help getting to my bedroom, and intended to lie down until I felt better, but it just got worse. I wasn't in "pain", but everything ached all over in a strange way. My stomach felt funny, almost like I'd been kicked there a while before, so that I had the residual ache. My back hurt a bit, and I hadn't done anything to it. I couldn't sleep because my heart and lungs decided to act as if I'd just run a mile (and seeing as I'm a distance runner, I'd know the feeling). This went on for a few hours before I could finally go to sleep. Honestly, I remember wondering a few times if I was dying, because I'd never felt anything like it. Obviously, I wasn't dying, but I was a kid at the time, and I had no idea what to think. I felt marginally better the next day, but I didn't feel normal for a while.

Now, I'm generally healthy. I eat right, I exercise, I don't smoke, and alcohol wasn't in the picture at the time. I know my grandmother was allergic to sulfa, but I don't know what sort of reaction she had, because she's dead, and her old medical records only say that she can't take sulfa antibiotics. My mother and sister are't allergic, but I don't know my father's medical history.

I might have let this slide, and just said "Well, I'm allergic, so I'll avoid them, and that's it", except I experienced similar symptoms recently, even though I haven't taken any meds. It was almost identical to the sulfa-reaction, but without an obvious trigger. It's not normal for a healthy 26-year old to feel like my legs are made of lead, and to get out of breath and light-headed walking from point-A to point-B, with general weakness and overall exhaustion.

Oh, and no, I'm not allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin, even though I've been told that if I'm allergic to sulfa drugs, I'll probably be allergic to the penicillin family.

And before you ask, I don't have health insurance, so I don't particularly feel like squandering my scant life savings on doctors playing hunt-and-peck with "theories" and tests that turn up nothing.

Advice? Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions? HELP?

Thanks in advance!

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