Yan Sham-Shackleton, a Los Angeles-based writer, began experiencing urticaria after switching her laundry detergent.

Since college, the writer,Yan Sham-Shackleton, always used the same detergent for her laundry.

“Sham-Shackleton went to a different grocery store to shop and they didn’t carry her regular detergent. She picked up a brand that was labeled as fragrance-free for sensitive skin.”

Sham-Shackleton began getting itchy when she wore certain clothes after trying the new laundry detergent.

“Sham-Shackleton says that he started getting large welts on his skin. I didn’t know what it was, and I thought it was from something I ate.”

Sham-Shackleton would wear one t-shirt and be fine and then another t-shirt and the reaction would flare up.

She figured out that something was up with the three or four loads of laundry that she washed with the new detergent and stopped using it, but the reaction didn’t go away.

“Sham-Shackleton’s skin would get more irritated when she took hot showers. Her back would break out.”

Sham-Shackleton went to see an allergist after he suffered for a few more weeks.

Sham-Shackleton had suspected that her new detergent was the problem. It caused a reaction called urticaria.

“Sham-Shackleton wouldn’t resolve her symptoms by simply going back to her regular detergent. Her decision to use detergent would lead to an ongoing journey with allergic reactions.”

Sham-Shackleton was able to determine that the root of her allergic reaction was the switch in detergent, thanks to the help of her doctor.

“Sham-Shackleton’s doctor recommended she do some testing after she mentioned that she was constantly congested.”

Sham-Shackleton says he got his panel done. I was also allergic to a lot of things.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, over 15,000 substances can cause an allergic skin reaction. Sham-Shackleton’s doctor said it would be hard to pinpoint what chemical was responsible for triggering her urticaria.

Sham-Shackleton does not know what ingredient in the detergent caused her reaction, but there are several substances commonly found in detergents that may contain allergens. These include:

  • There are over 100 substances that may contain allergens, according to research.
  • Enzymes: Used for breaking down stains, Research suggests that enzymes may cause skin inflammation and other irritations.
  • Dyes: Though legislation has been enacted to help protect people against certain color additives considered dangerous, some people still experience allergic reactions to dyes found in cleaning products, cosmetics, and more.
  • There is concern that some products with Parabens can cause allergic reactions and other health issues.

It is often referred to as hives. It can be a few centimeters wide and presents as wheals, raised itchy bumps or welts.

The bumps are caused by the body releasing a substance called histamine. This substance is released when your body responds to a specific event. Some allergy causes may cause urticaria.

  • Foods such as nuts and dairy products.
  • The insects bite.
  • Contact the person with the allergens.
  • Pet dander.
  • It is latex.
  • Plants.

Other causes of hives include:

  • There are Viruses.
  • Stress.
  • Light exposure.
  • Rub or pressure can cause physical symptoms.

According to research about 15-25% of people experience urticaria during their life. Around 40% of people with urticaria, also experience angioedema which is swelling beneath the skin.

Within 24 to 48 hours, urticaria will resolve on its own. It may last a few minutes or hours. Chronic urticaria can last for weeks or even months.

A board certified dermatologist can determine if you have persistent hives and how to treat them. This may include:

  • The avoiding of triggering.
  • Anti-itch creams are over the counter.
  • Allegra is an over-the-counter antihistamine.
  • The medications include steroids.
  • The EpiPen or auto-injector is a device that is used to deliver a medicine.
  • Light therapy.

Testing can be done to find out if the allergens are triggering urticaria. Patch testing involves exposing your skin to small amounts of allergens and then covering each area with a patch.

Your doctor will remove the patches after 48 hours to see if the allergens caused allergic reactions. Your doctor will keep an eye on you for a few days.

“Sham-Shackleton remembers liking the smell of cleaning supplies as a child, but her reaction to detergent didn’t occur until she was an adult.”

I always covered my mouth and nose when I went to the supermarket to buy cleaning products. She says that her mom thought she was being dramatic.

“Sham-Shackleton doesn’t remember much about allergies when she was in Hong Kong.”

I hated the taste of seafood but never thought I might be allergic to it. I would never eat seafood.

Sham-Shackleton realized that her throat would itch when she ate shellfish as she got older. I have always had a reaction to clean products and have always been attracted to them. Then this detergent set it off.

Sham-Shackleton would get similar reactions to other cleaning and personal care products after her initial reaction. She says that if she used soap she would get an allergic reaction.

“Sham-Shackleton’s allergist had her take Allegra for six weeks to get her allergy under control. Sham-Shackleton says that he was told that it would strengthen the walls of his cells and stop the release of histamine.”

According to research, Histamine is a chemical that can play a role in inflammation and irritability when it comes to allergic reactions. Allegra is an over-the-counter antihistamine that helps relieve allergies.

Sham-Shackleton still takes Allegra to manage her allergies. She will take a break for six weeks and then something will come up that causes her to have an allergy to something.

She will start getting itching in her throat and then she will start getting blisters on her elbow. She gets harder to scratch as her skin becomes itchy.

I take Allegra every day because we use so much hand sanitizer.

Sham-Shackleton doesn\’t look for specific ingredients, but she tries to buy “clean” products that are fragrance-free. She doesn\’t trust labels since the detergent that triggered her allergy was labeled “halal”.

Sham-Shackleton was told by her doctor that allergy shots may be another option for her allergies.

Immunotherapy works by injecting a small amount of allergen into the skin to build up tolerance over time. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, it can be effective in treating allergens including plants, mold, dust, animal dander, and insect stings.

Sham-Shackleton is considering doing the shots in the future, but she has not tried them yet.

Sham-Shackleton hopes that others will learn from her experience and see a doctor if they experience symptoms like hers. She waited because she thought it would go away on its own. If someone experiences allergies, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.