An Allergic Reaction

Last night started out innocent enough with wine, lots of yummy food and great company!

It took a turn for the worse toward the end of the night…

hospital bracelet

But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Dinner at Cuvee

I had dinner plans with my friend Amanda at Cuvee, a local wine bar and bistro.

Cuvee Ocala

I’ve heard great things about Cuvee ever since we moved to Ocala and since both of our husbands were out of town this weekend, Amanda and I decided to make it a girls’ night! (Ryan left on a bachelor party cruise on Thursday for his friend Terry who is getting married in New Jersey in October. He’ll be home again early this afternoon.)

Cuvee Wine and Bistro

After we arrived, we were escorted to our table and our waiter explained how wine tasting at the restaurant works. Every guest is given a card and after you swipe the card, you select your portion of wine.

Cuvee Wine Bar

Amanda and I had a great time trying new wines throughout the night and agreed that we must return with the guys. Since we were both driving, we made sure to keep our tastings under control, but it would be quite easy to let loose at Cuvee! I wanted to try everything!

As for our food, we shared a bunch of different options including cheesy focaccia bread, buffalo meat balls, a cheese plate and a roasted hummus sampler plate. I didn’t snap any pictures, but the food was delicious! After our time at Cuvee, Amanda and I weren’t ready to head home yet, so we stopped into a local coffee chop to chat for a few more hours.

photo (8)

While were there, I ate a chocolate chip cookie and sipped on hot tea. It was so great to spend an evening with a friend.

An Allergic Reaction

I arrived home a little before 11 p.m., washed my face, changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed to read with Sadie by my side. About 20 minutes later, my stomach started cramping up and I was hit with some serious nausea. I ran to the bathroom and threw up, but only a teeny bit. I kept thinking I would throw up again, but nothing ever happened and I hung out on the bathroom floor hoping the nausea would dissipate for about 20 minutes. As I waited for the feeling to pass, I noticed that the palms of my hands started itching. Then, the food seemed to want to leave me the other way (TMI, I know – I’m sorry!), and after that, my stomach started to feel better, so I crawled back into bed.

The itching in my palms continued and grew to include my wrists and back of my legs. When I looked at my wrists, I noticed some of the skin looked like elongated mosquito bites and I thought I might be having a reaction to something. I called my mom who is a nurse and she encouraged me to take Benadryl immediately and go to an urgent care clinic or the emergency room if anything got worse.

Since we didn’t have any Benadryl in our cabinet, I drove to the 24-hour Wal-Mart near our house and swallowed two pills while I waited in line to check out. During the 20 minutes it took me to get to WalMart and buy the medicine, my symptoms significantly escalated. My skin was now red all over and I was itching everywhere. My legs itched like crazy, my ears felt hot and I started to get a little nervous.

I decided to drive to the emergency room and when I arrived I was greeted with, “Oh wow! You’re having a reaction to something!” The nurses took my vitals and within 15 minutes I saw a doctor. 

allergic reaction legs

(No, my legs are not normally bright red!)

As a little aside, I cannot say enough wonderful things about the care I received at Munroe Regional Medical Center last night. I didn’t wait long at all and the nurses and doctor I met with were so kind. Also, I want to give all of you who work the night shift in health care a big hug. I’m sure it’s an incredibly draining job, but I was so grateful for the expertise of those on staff when I needed the help last night.

Once I was taken back to a bed and asked to change, the doctor came in to see me about 10 minutes later. He looked me over and asked me a bunch of questions about what I ate, whether or not I recently changed detergents, what medications I take, etc. We couldn’t pinpoint what caused the reaction since I didn’t eat anything too out of the ordinary other than the bison meatballs, which the doctor said probably didn’t do it.

Monroe Hospital Ocala

After I was treated, the doctor prescribed me some medications to take throughout the week and also prescribed me an EpiPen to use in case of an emergency. He explained that the severity of allergic reactions can increase over time, and told me I should carry an EpiPen in my purse at all times to administer an emergency dose of epinephrine into my outer thigh if a severe allergic reaction occurs in the future.

Within a few hours, I was released from the hospital and drove home more than ready to crawl into bed and sleep for a few hours. It was quite an eventful night and I’m so grateful for the care I received and that the situation was not any worse.  

I hope your Saturday night was slightly less chaotic!


  1. Clarice says

    That is so crazy!! I know how your feel though. Last year I went out to dinner at Red Lobster and ate shrimp for dinner, nothing out of the ordinary. Afterwards I went for a run at my school gym and broke out in hives all over! I ended up in the ER till 2am. We think it was the shrimp but I can still eat it now and feel fine! It was really strange. Glad you are feeling better!


    • Nuttmegs17 says

      @clarice. My friend is allergic to shrimp but ONLY when it’s accompanied by intense activity (last thing that set it off was a house party when we all started dancing). So strange!


  2. says

    I was in the ER last night with an allergic reaction as well. They suck and I’m glad you’re doing better. Please consider getting tested for food allergies. The results can be really helpful. Good luck!


  3. says

    Aww Julie, that is SO scary. I’m glad you are ok. And hopefully you can pinpoint the allergy because that is really terrifying!!! Thinking of you! <3


  4. says

    Aww! How scary! I’m glad you are ok though! I’ve had weird reactions to certain alcoholic beverages before. Do you think you may have been allergic to one of the wines you were taste testing? Hope you are able to figure out was it was so you know to avoid it! I hope you get well rested and feel better!


  5. says

    Sending positive vibes for quick recovery. I have dealt with a few allergic reactions this year, and am still in the process with allergists and dermatologists trying to figure out exactly what it is. So believe me when I say I understand!


  6. Kevie says

    Sounds like your night was straight out of the movie Hitch… taking Benadryl while still in the store. I hope you’re feeling better.

    p.s. you have the same bday as my mom :)


  7. says

    Oh no!! I am sorry you had to go thru that. Sounds scary for sure! My step dad recently was stung by 30+ bees and had a bad bad reaction that lead to the ER. He’s been talking about his bee story ever since. I couldn’t imagine going through that. I am glad you are doing better! Have you determined what triggered the reaction?


  8. Nicole says

    Oh Julie! Hope your Sunday brought you some rest and relief from whatever got you! Thankfully you have Ryan and Sadie to give you love.


  9. says

    I’m so sorry that happened to you! It happened to my girlfriend recently and she found out she was allergic to celery, can you believe it? Hope you find out what your allergy is! Have a great week love + shine Courtstar


  10. Yayan says

    My boyfriend had a few similarly strange allergic reaction episodes. An allergist couldn’t pinpoint anything in particular, but he did say that some people may have these reactions if they exercise or do any strenuous activity within a few hours after eating, even a snack. Super weird, but now I say he’s just allergic to exercise and it’s usually a good excuse to be lazy!


  11. says

    That’s so scary! Why does stuff like that have to happen when you’re alone? Sorry you had to go through that but I’m glad you’re okay. I was in the hospital Saturday night too but I was working! It sucks to be at work on the weekend but its a rewarding field to work in!


  12. Cara says

    Love your blog. Was so sad to hear about your allergic reaction, so glad you had great care. I have problems with allergies and at this time of the year pollen allergens can combine with certain foods to give allergic reactions. The chemicals in certain foods can combine with allergens, not just the pollen itself but chemicals that are the plants reaction to environmental pollution. So it may well be a combination of factors that escalate the risk. However you need to be careful allergic reactions can escalate in severity if you have another episode, so I would seek further advice. Thanks again for the wonderful blog – I love your recipe ideas. Big get better from the UK x


  13. says

    you poor thing! i wish i could have been there to help you. No one should drive themselves to the ER. Did they find out the reaction? Did you eat any different fruit? A certain wine? or cheese?


  14. says

    Oh no! I’m so glad you are okay but hate to hear you had a reaction. That rash is pretty red so it obviously would have kept getting worse if you hadn’t went to the emergency room. Maybe it was one of the wines? One of my friends recently developed an allergy to a a certain wine/brand that she has always consumed. She used to be okay drinking it and it seemed like over night, she developed this allergy. She had similar reactions that you described and they determined it was the wine. She had become allergic to the LTP found in grape skins of that particular species of grape used for that wine. I also know that women are twice as likely to develop allergies to wines (and red wines are most often the ones that cause reactions).


  15. Shannon says

    Ugh, that SUCKS! Watching your skin develop welts is a very creepy experience! In addition to the Epi, it’s always good to have LIQUID benadryl, the syrup, around at all times. It works much faster than the pills and will likely be your go-to before using the Epi-pen.


  16. Marissa says

    I’m actually a Registered Dietitian that works with food allergies for a university, and a regular reader of your blog… so weird, but I was doing research for a presentation that I will be giving at the beginning of the semester, read this, and immediately thought of you! (From WebMD)- “There are also natural substances, such as histamine, that can occur in foods and stimulate a reaction similar to an allergic reaction. For example, histamine can reach high levels in cheese, some wines, and in certain kinds of fish, particularly tuna and mackerel. In fish, histamine is believed to stem from bacterial contamination, particularly in fish that hasn’t been refrigerated properly. If someone eats one of these foods with a high level of histamine, that person may have a reaction that strongly resembles an allergic reaction to food. This reaction is called histamine toxicity.”


  17. Courtney says

    Others might have mentioned this, but you could have had an allergic reaction to one of the wines you drank. I had a very bad reaction to Bogle chardonnay (had two glasses – at the time well below my tolerance level – and within 3-5 hours I was vomiting). I couldn’t be sure that the chardonnay was the cause (I also ate seared tuna that night), so I went back to the same restaurant and took a few sips of the same wine to test. This time I could feel the reaction almost instantly because I was on alert for it. I’ve never had this reaction with any other chardonnay or other kind of wine. I have no idea what is in the wine, but something to keep in mind! It might just be a random fluke that is unlikely to repeat.


  18. Tara says

    Ugh, so scary. I had to take our boxer puppy to emergency vet Saturday too for an allergic reaction to some sort of bite. She swelled up all over and couldn’t see…so so scary. Glad you are better and I hope they figure out what caused it all!


  19. says

    GAH! That’s terrifying. I am allergic to a lot of foods so I am always fearful that this will happen to me, and it does at least once, if not twice a month! It stinks that even when I think I am doing well and no infesting myself with things that I cannot eat, I wind up doubled over in pain! :(

    I am glad to hear that you’re alright now though. I guess you will NOT be going back to that restaurant! LOL


  20. says

    Oh wow!! I’m so sorry you had to go through that!! A few years back I started becoming allergic to all antibiotics. It was miserable. They’d put me on one and 7 days later, I’d wake up all itchy on my ankles and it’d eventually spread all over and I’d swell up. That happened with 3-4 different antibiotics. Glad you’re feeling better though! :)


  21. Nuttmegs17 says

    So strange! I was at the urgent care clinic sat night as well but with my husband. He’s never had allergies to anything but popped an aleve for some lower back pain and then went for a run. He had many of the same things you did but his chest got tight and he had trouble breathing and swallowing as well. He ended up getting a steroid shot in the butt (ha!) and is now on prednisone for the week (sigh).

    Oddly enough they held off on the Epi pen bc they said they would have to make him go to the ER. I wish they would have given him an Epi pen to go like you got bc I’m concerned that next time will be worse.

    Did you happen to take Aleve or Advil that day? Apparently NSAIDs can cause an allergic reaction out of nowhere…Tylenol for now on for my man! :)


  22. says

    my husband is allergic to bees and it is true about the reactions getting worse with time. The last time he was stung was worse than ever and we had to go to the emergency room! I hope you are feeling better!


  23. says

    What a terrible ending to such a good day! I had an allergic reaction like this at my friends prom that ended with me heading to the ER twice in 24 hours and 2 weeks on meds. Seriously the worst. It never happened again and they still don’t know what it’s from. I hope this is your one and only!


  24. Laura says

    That looks horrible!! So painful ;-( I know the feeling though!! I had a serious reaction to tea i had last november. Sugar cookie sleigh ride to be exact. By celestial seasonings. I found that the ingredients have milk thistle! Is it possible you had a tea with milk thistle in it?? I had the same type of hive reaction all over my body. Curious to see if anyone else has the same reaction. I hope you are feeling better!!



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