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Old 08-17-2012, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,375,688 times
Reputation: 3321

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My grandma has had constant itching for about 4 years now.

She thinks it's because of the mold in her house, but nobody else who has stayed here (usually for a few days to a week) has had any ill-effects from the mold.

She was recently in the nursing home. She fell and broke her shoulder. While she was in the nursing home for 3 months she said her itching was still there but not as bad. She said it has gotten worse the few days she has been home. Apparently at the nursing home she itched mostly from the knees down, while at the house it is all over. While she was in the nursing home her sink collected a few spots of mold where the water had been dripping. It didn't look substantial. Whatever mold can be seen, it is not fast-growing. The mold seems most noticeable in one room in the back of the house.

My uncle and his friend have been painting the house and doing work around here to make it better. Grandma has planned to stay here at the house because we haven't found a suitable apartment for her yet. If she does move out at some point, the house might sell faster and for more if it looks better. She can afford for the house to have a facelift anyway. She changes her mind fairly often as to whether she wants to stay in the house or leave.

She has seen allergists and dermatologists. The allergist said she had a slight allergy to mold, but nothing extremely serious. She was also allergice to pollen, dust, and dander. None were severe allergies. The dermatologist couldn't help her much. One dermatologist gave her some lotion which helped, but it became less and less effective over time.

I'm just not sure what to do for her. I would like to get her to see a neurologist as well. We had planned to take her to one last fall, but then my Grandpa got sick. He died in February. She has taken nerve pills for decades. That makes me wonder if there might be some neurological component to this. I also plan to get some mold test kits to use at the house to see if she has mold (she has some) and what kind. I plan to get her a humidifier as well, at least for where she sleeps, which is on the couch in the living room.

She has tried all kinds of itch relievers and nothing seems to help.

Anybody had anything like this? Any advice?
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:32 AM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
6,250 posts, read 18,396,933 times
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If she had chicken pox it could be shingles. That is supposed to be miserable and lasts a long time. Is it possible she is getting into poison ivy?

I'd take her to an internist pronto.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,375,688 times
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We took her to one of those too. He did all kinds of blood test and didn't find anything.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:56 AM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,480 posts, read 14,582,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myrc60 View Post
If she had chicken pox it could be shingles. That is supposed to be miserable and lasts a long time. Is it possible she is getting into poison ivy?

I'd take her to an internist pronto.

shingles causes pain,intense pain along with itching but I've never heard of shingles lasting 4 years.

I would suspect a medication as being a possible cause.

No one should live in a house with mold-ever!
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,718 posts, read 54,305,615 times
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Oatmeal baths or sponge baths? I've never tried it myself but read it can help.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
5,152 posts, read 12,930,199 times
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I am itchy ALL WINTER LONG....not so in the summer. I think it's the cold, dry air. I have dry skin. Benadryl is what helps me....I only take it at night as it makes me drowsy. She, too, could simply have very dry skin.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,957 posts, read 26,800,560 times
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From what you have described, there really does not seem to be anything to implicate mold as a source for the itching. We all live with mold and mildew every day. There is no such thing as a mold free home. If there is an environmental cause, it could be due to something in the environment besides mold.

Your suspicion that it might have a neurological cause may be right on the button. See here:

Neurology Today: New Research Shows Itch is A Lot More than Skin Deep -- American Academy of Neurology

The article divides causes of chronic itching into three broad categories: skin problems, organ dysfunction, and neurological.

A dermatologist would be able to diagnose something like eczema. Nothing was found.

The allergist should have considered medications and environmental causes.

An internist would be able to diagnose a liver or kidney problem. I am assuming none of her blood work was abnormal, so she does not have those problems.

That leaves the neurological category, which may be difficult to treat. It is something to discuss with her primary care doctor.

Was there anything that happened four years ago, such as a stroke?

The fact that the itching got better with a change in location, suggests that perhaps it is due to something (not necessarily mold) in her home, but it could be due to a change in her diet or medications. Were there any such changes? Why was she in the nursing home for three months? Did they provide any skin lotion for her to use? Was her personal laundry done with a different detergent from what she uses at home? Did she use a different soap for bathing?

While you are working on the face lift at her home, a thorough, deep cleaning is in order. I suspect that she has not been able to do that for a while. If there are pets in the home, or if there have been pets in the past, dander, not to mention dust and pollen, may be deep in carpets and upholstery. It might be worthwhile to hire a cleaning service, and your grandma should be out of the house while it is done. The service should move and clean behind and under furniture and steam clean the carpets and upholstered furniture. Is this perhaps a good time to consider even replacing carpets and pads, since you say she can afford some renovations? Ask the cleaners to use hypoallergenic products. You and your family could do it, but it needs to be top to bottom in every room. Do not just focus on the mold and mildew. Check the HVAC filters, too. Is someone changing those frequently?

By the way, if some of the itching is due to dry skin, a humidifier might help, but it will not do anything for mold. Mold likes moisture.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:57 PM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,480 posts, read 14,582,639 times
Reputation: 19530
I agree with Suzy in the prior post.
I also had forgotten that if my clothes get washed in Tide detergent I break out in hives and itchy skin. I have to use a non scented.sensitive skin detergent.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Ohio
3,441 posts, read 5,055,307 times
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She may need to go to a dermatologist and have an allergic skin test done.

Could be many things, if she has been to an Internist he/she should have sent her there too..
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,957 posts, read 26,800,560 times
Reputation: 27319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trackwatch View Post
She may need to go to a dermatologist and have an allergic skin test done.

Could be many things, if she has been to an Internist he/she should have sent her there too..
OP says she has seen a dermatologist, an allergist, and an internist.
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