Gourd Art Enthusiasts

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  I am into my 5th year of working with gourds. I love it, but I'm wondering if it's time to give it up!.. The last couple of years, I have been getting the worse "itch" from something. It seems to be an allergy.   It starts in strange places--not places where most of the gourd dust touches. I do wear a respirator and usually an apron or cover up. It starts as a small water blister or maybe a raised "hive' and it spreads so easily. Takes several weeks to go away using Benedryl and Calamine and anything else I can find for itching. Drives me NUTS!  

Does anyone else get this? Is there any hope or should I start selling off my gourds and tools and find another outlet for my creativity?  

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Have you checked with your doctor to see what it may be? You have just perfectly described my two years prior to becoming diabetic. Two years of blister like sores that don't heal on my forearms. Diabetes and other diseases actually start with a range of unusual symptoms that seemingly have nothing to do with the disease but eventually culminate in that disease.

Are you on any medications that have similar side effects? Itching is a common side effect of many prescription drugs. Have you been checked for allergies that may cause the symptoms, not just gourds or mold? There are more than 50 items that are checked during allergy scratch testing.

Don't sell off your gourds and equipment yet. It's true you can develop allergies from anything at any time in your life but check to find out what's causing your discomfort first. You might sell off your beloved pastime and then find out it was a medicine you were taking temporarily, or a food supplement you were taking for your general well being, or a seasonal allergy, your child's new pet or something else entirely.

Thank you, Bonnie. I will check. I'm a very healthy person generally. Not pre diabetic, no medications other than HRT (been on for years).  I'm just going to stay away from gourds for a bit and see if this goes away, returns or what. No hurry on getting rid of stuff--I did talk to one lady who has similar reactions to the gourd guts. (not the carving/sanding dust I was worried about). She said as long as her husband cleans them for her first, she has no problem.  Not sure that's an option for me--my husband loves my work, but I don't think he would do that part of it.. LOL. 

After using Quikwood for a couple years I started getting similar symptoms as you.  It took me a while before I figured out I had developed an allergy to Quikwood, and in fact ALL things similar(Apoxie Sculpt and other 2-part products).

On another note, my best friend developed Wegeners Disease a few year's ago ....... her symptoms were like having the flu that just wouldn't go away; cough and breathing trouble.  She was diagnosed with Wegeners and now stays away from any gourd "dust".

Good luck!

A quick update. I stayed away from anything gourd related for 3 weeks and I got a light case of the small itchy bumps (blister like). The Allergist I went to said it is not an allergic reaction. She recommended I go see a dermatologist. That's next on my list.  The good news is--it's probably NOT gourd related so I'm going back to enjoying my passion. I am learning how to control the itching so life is good again! :)

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