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Itching arms and hands, allergy?

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I've had a bad cold for several days, so I began drinking orange juice on Saturday. By Saturday night, my arms and hand were itching really bad. I took 2 Benadryl so I could sleep. I had a raspberry freezer pop for my throat as well. Sunday morning, i was still itching. I thought it was the raspberry freezer pop, so took more Benadryl. Long story short, I just realized that the only thing I've been eating or drinking since the itching began has been orange juice. I stopped the orange juice last night around 6pm. Today, my hands arms and shoulders are still itching but it's not as bad. Before my legs and feet were itchy. Today my body still feels like my skin is crawling. Did I have an allergic reaction to orange juice and what should I do to make this stop? Do I continue with Benadryl? I'm at work and Benadryl makes me drowsy. How long does this last? Please help!

Category: Internal Medicine Specialist

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 19 Doctors Online

Thank you for asking your query at DoctorSpring

Yes, this itching which you are experiencing can be a part of the allergic reaction to some of the ingredients in the orange juice. Since you have this history of allergy to food items and seasonal allergies it is quite possible that this is an allergic reaction. Orange juice can contain slight amount of salicylates (naturally). This component may be the culprit here.

It’s a good thing that you have stopped the orange juice consumption. I recommend you to take a balanced nutritious meal, which are allergy-safe from your experience. Go for the safes, non-allergic food as per you experience.
Just take Benadryl for 1 more day (since when you stopped the orange juice). You can stop it and see how your body responds. If the itching still persists for more than 48 hours, we need to look into other possible allergens. You may want to visit a Doctor too, in person.

Hope this helps

Patient replied :

What are salicylates and are they known to cause reactions like hives? I've had orange juice before, a cup here or there, but I really consumed a lot this weekend. Could that be the reason? Am I allergic to salicylates in general or in large amounts?


It's not possible to say you are allergic to salicylates. But its possible. Salicylates is a chemical found in NSAIDs like Asprin. This can occur naturally in oranges and hence in orange juices. It could be some other component in the orange juice also. When you had large quantities of juice, these allergens reached your body in a significant allergy inducing level. That is the possible explanation here.

Salicylate allergy can cause any kind of allergic symptoms from hives to acute anaphylaxis (though rare).

Thank you
Hope this helps

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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