Bamboo Allergy

Our daughter gave me a Father’s Day gift “for the man who has everything.”

The toothpicks are harder than the ones I usually use, and I was delighted with them. I used them after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It never dawned on me that when I broke out in hives, which led to a rash, which inflamed into dermatitis that the cause could be an allergic reaction to my new toothpicks.

I saw a number of experts—allergy specialists, dermatologists, and other medical doctors—none of whom could find the cause.

I searched the Internet for answers. One medical doctor had even asked, “Do you believe in the Web or in your medical practitioner? (The answer, of course, is “Why not use both?”—especially since the people I was seeing had no idea of the cause, and all my tests came back in the normal range.) After four weeks of living with the condition, and restricting or eliminating anything that could cause the problem, the idea popped into my head that the cause could be an allergic reaction to the toothpicks, which I found were made of bamboo—and most probably processed bamboo.

I immediately did a search under “Bamboo Allergy” and found that the exact history I was experiencing had been the same for others.

Moral: The obvious is not so obvious. I had restricted myself for three weeks to anything that I thought could have prompted the reaction. I included everything—except the obvious.

Lesson: Persevere.

  1. Im not sure when this was published but I have been searching the internet for info on bamboo allergies and realised that sometimes the internet doesn’t have all the answers. Anyway, I’m I was just looking for people who had a similar experience. A few months ago I was at a Cuban restaurant which had bamboo chairs, after like 15 mins of sitting I suddenly felt and overbearing itch on the back part of my thighs. I didn’t give it much thought since I was the only one wearing stockings (everyone else was wearing jeans) so I just kinda forgot about it. The itch lasted for about a half a minute then it was gone and we stayed at the restaurant for another 2 hours…still sitting on those chairs. When I got home at about midnight and got undressed, I checked my legs and they still looked normal. At 4am I was woken up by this terrible itch again…it was an itch like I never felt before. There were no bumps or anything, my skin just felt warm and it was kinda throbbing but I eventually fell asleep. The next morNing I woke up to legs as red as tomatoes and burning hot, the itch was still there but it wasn’t like an itch that had to be scratched, it was like a deep itch. I figured it would go away as the day went by, took some antihistamines and took a nap. I woke up and the rash was worse, there were still no bumps…my skin was smooth but red, hot and swollen. I went to the doctor and he couldn’t figure this rash out, he gave me an antibiotic (which I’m totally opposed to but I was getting desperate), some cortisone ointment and an antihistamine and told me to come back in a few days. By day 3 i couldn’t walk, my legs were so swollen and my skin was soooooooo stretched that I couldn’t handle being on my feet anymore because it just felt like my skin would burst open if I did. On day 5 I went back to the doctor since there was no improvement and the rash was spreading to the top of my thighs, the doctor then gave me a stronger ointment. The rash eventually went away after almost 2 weeks and now I’m left with a terrible blemish on my thighs. Definitely the worst experience ever! I now steer clear of anything and everything bamboo!!!!

  2. I made a facial moisturizer with Bamboo Extract and was covered in hives and red rash all over my body within 4 hours. I guess I’m seriously allergic to bamboo.