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Skin Care and Diseases

Contact reaction to pumpkin flesh

10/06/2005

Question:

I am a 21 year old female whose previous medical history includes Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and received a Cord Blood transplant in 1996. Since the transplant, I have experienced severe allergies which include sneezing, runny nose and occassional sinus headaches. However, I experienced a severe rash on my hands and arms last year after carving pumpkins with my family, which lasted for several months. I had hoped that it was a one-time incident; unfortunately, after going to a pumpkin patch last night and carrying a pumpkin to my vehicle, my hands and arms have again developed a rash. I am curious as to whether this is a common allergic reaction, and if there are any suggested methods for soothing the rash without costly prescription ointments or treatments. Any suggestions and/or information?

Answer:

I must say that your problem is unique.  It should probably best be handled by an allergist who deals with unique contacts.  My take is that you probably have had some kind of mixed allergic response to insecticides or similar material that might have been on the pumpkin.  Food allergies are relatively uncommon.  It would be interesting to know the immunologic history of your transplant donor.  Frequently the sensitivities that the individual has had may be transmitted to the recipient.

Since I am only simply guessing at your problem, I would urge you to talk with your transplant team and contact the immunologist and allergist that work with that team.  They may be familiar with your problem. 

Good luck!

 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati