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Nurse Dani
Nurse Dani, Nurse, Retired LVN/LPN
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 55
Experience:  Office,Hospital, Pediatric to Geriatric. Experienced In Total Health Care.
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Jalapeno allergic reaction. What should I do?

Customer Question

2 weeks ago I ate a jalapeno pepper. I had a overwhelming feeling (no burn or reflux) but felt warm went up from my gut to my chest then into my right side of head. With that, I have shortness of breath especially after a meal. I also had tingling on my right side-neck and stabbing pains on my right lung side in my back. Along with ear pain, jaw pain and sinus pain. Extreme exhaustion one day to the next. I am on valtrex (in case it is shingles) biaxin for infection, Otirx for ear fungus and a steroid nasal spray. Furthermore, I am on a week of prednislone. My chest xray cleared - fine. Who do I call next? I did notice a break out in my teeth which they were sore too. What do I do?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Nurse Dani replied 8 years ago.
Is this the first time you had had a reaction to a food such as this? Have you since been tested to see what other foods you are allergic to?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am going to get tested but after I finish the steroids. However, my main concern is my current shortness of breath and dizzy spells....the shortness of breath is a bit scarier. My exhaustion was gone yesterday, then WHAM! out of the blue today it hit and I was almost paralyzed like sedated. I am not sure if the Valtrex hit me that hard...but it dind't yesterday. The docs say it is some kind of virus, but it is somewhat incapacitating me at home. Damn Chili pepper!
Expert:  Nurse Dani replied 8 years ago.


Thanks for allowing me to work with you on your health question. I will do my best to answer all parts of it.

Let's start with what happened: Your doctor is right, you suffered from anaphylaxis shock, which is a whole body reaction (allergic) to a substance.

With a jalapeno pepper what most people don't think about is it is not the pepper itself that is the culperate, but the OIL.

If you have ever tried to get rid of the hot of the pepper, you will notice that not even water puts it out as well as one might think and that is because water and oil do not mix. Usually folks will tell you that it takes bread (solid, flour) to get rid of the oil in the pepper to get rid of the "hot"...and that is why. It is coating.

That is why the reaction you are having is taking a while to "reverse" and responde to the medications. It is the oil. Your teeth hurt and feel broken out because of the oil coating them and if the gums around the teeth have any openings or sores, the oil has gotten in. Since you are highly allergic to it, it will really work on you hard.

I am unsure as to why the Valtrex was given? He would know. The other medications I can see with the reactions.

Since you have such a high reaction to jalapenos I would ask the doctor for a EPI-pen prescription. This is a pen that is actually a shot. Incase you are ever accidently exposed to this again, you can be given the shot immediately and reaction is stopped fast.

I would also now let this be a part of all your permanent records. It could be life ending for you since it affects your breathing.

Nurse Dani and other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I ate the jalapeno 2 weeks and a day ago. Would I still be having this? Yes, she did write me a script for an epi pen too. I did not have any swelling like I have read in normal anaphalxis....just this overwhelming warm feeling. Tight chest and up into my rt side. The doc said there is anerve that can get irritated (herpes) which I do have break outs on my lips and take L-lysine for. Would shortness of breath last this long? it comes and goes in phases...but especially after I eat a big meal.
Expert:  Nurse Dani replied 8 years ago.

Yes, it could last this long, as well, you could be having some anxiety with it. The swelling in the case of a food where the oil is involved (and it is a food such as this) is air way. The shortness of breath, could well be from it still being inflammed. Prednisone is for the inflammation and should take care of that.

Be sure to follow up with your doctor if this continues because it could be the cause of Permanent issues. *the bad thing about an allergy that is this severe in nature*

Also be careful, this allergy could have well set off reactions to other. For example, black pepper may now be a smaller allergy. I advise seeing an Allergist and being tested for all possible things that could be a factor now.

This is called a Panel Test. Not fun, but better safe than sorry.