View Full Version : sort of OT: Allergic to wool?

04-09-2007, 03:51 PM
Today was rather cold, so I decided to wear a sweater that I've worn a few times before. That was around 9:00 that I put it on. Later, around 11:50, I started to scratch my arm. I went to the nurse and seemed to have something that looked like a bug bit, but I assumed was hives. She put some calamine lotion on it, and I was sent back to class. Later, at lunch, I found I had even more hives on my shoulders and upper arms because I had been scratching and didn't realize it. I went back to the nurse and she advised me to take off my sweater (I had a tank top on underneath) and she put some more calamine lotion on. I kept it off until the end of the day, but draped it over myself when a classroom was cold. It was over my hands, and it even made them itch.
My question is, has this ever happened to you? The sweater was 50%nylon, 40% acrylic, and 10% angora rabbit hair. I'm guessing it's the angora, but the only thing is I've worn this sweater before without getting hives. Does anyone know what's wrong? I really hope I"m not allergic to wool... :verysad:

04-09-2007, 03:54 PM
Don't worry, you're not allergic to wool! There's hardly any wool in that sweater, you could be allergic to one of the synthetics in it, though.

04-09-2007, 04:31 PM
Did you change brands of laundry detergent? Sometimes that can cause an allergic rash. What you're describing definitely sounds like an allergy. It is possible to develop an allergy to something you've never had a problem with before. Whether or not it's the sweater material is another question.

To relieve the hives, try taking an antihistamine (like Benadryl) - but not if you're going to have allergy testing done any time soon, because that will mess up the tests. (Can you tell what the lecture was about in Immunology this morning? :))

04-09-2007, 04:36 PM
Are you taking any medication, antibiotics or anything? It could be an allergic reaction to something you are taking.

04-09-2007, 04:44 PM
I'm not on any medicine that could cause hives, only some medicine that I've been on for months and has never caused any problems (having taken it also in 3rd grade). ContiKnitter said that low amount of angora in the sweater probably means that I'm not allergic to wool, so I'm probably allergic to the nylon in the sweater. We haven't changed detergent lately and have been using Tide for years. It's probably the nylon. :shrug: :shrug:

04-09-2007, 05:15 PM
I think hardly anyone is allergic to wool itself, just the treatment and the dyes in the wool.

04-09-2007, 06:53 PM
My mom says it's the angora, especially since I have sensitive skin. She says I also used to have an angora scarf when I was little that bothered me. Maybe it's because of the way it's treated, like ContiKnitter said. I hope I can still knit and wear it, but we'll see. We always have Benadryl on hand anyway. Thanks for all your help everyone! :muah:

04-09-2007, 10:13 PM
Angora's an animal fiber, so you still can be allergic to it. As far as developing a reaction after wearing it after several times, that's actually one type of allergic reaction (of a few) - w/o getting too deep into it, you can develop an instant reaction, or actually more commonly for topical (skin) reactions, over repeated exposure.

Unfortunately, with the history your mom's giving you, angora's not your friend, Carmabelle! Too sad... http://img117.exs.cx/img117/6721/o4fsad.gif

But! If you can wear everything (most everything?) else, you'll be ok ;)

04-10-2007, 01:52 AM
It probably is the angora. 10% is enough to give rash. I can detect even 1% or wool in yarn, so 10% is definitely enough. You could try wearing something underneath is with long sleeves and a high collar, altought that doesn't work for me (it does for my mom)

04-10-2007, 03:01 AM
Angora is rabbit fur. I actually know a lot of people who are allergic to angora, including my mom, who can't sit on the couch after I have been sitting there knitting with my latest yarn which is 50% angora and 50% wool. I finally had to move, vacuum the couch and now I sit on the other side of the room when I am using this yarn.

04-10-2007, 09:08 AM
How was the sweater last cleaned? If it was taken to the dry cleaner, that may be the culprit. I'd wash it by hand using your normal shampoo and hair conditioner and then see if it is still a problem.

04-10-2007, 10:02 AM
:muah: that sucks!! my little sister is alergic to just about every fiber animal... so on a trip to LYS i had the shop show us where the cotton yarn was (it was in 3 different places) b/c she would probably have had an asthma attack and hives just from touching the wrong yarn! and i have had to keep her cottom yarn separate and in the shop bag so no cross contamination......sad for her since cashmere is wool and soooo soft! i will just have to find a nice sub...

04-10-2007, 11:33 AM
I would recommend getting some All detergent, the kind that is anti-allergen and wash the sweater in that. I normally use that but used some Tide recently and had to completely wash all my clothes over again because I couldn't stand to wear them because of the detergent. I used to be able to use regular detergents but over time my skin has become more sensitive.

Given the fiber composition of the sweater and the fact that you have worn it before without problems makes me suspicious that it is not the sweater itself.

04-10-2007, 11:43 AM
When washing your sweater, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water. It will help ensure that all the soap is out of the sweater. Soap aften causes itching problems

04-10-2007, 04:59 PM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! :muah: I will definitely try the All detergent and the vinegar and see if that works. I was also suspicious that it wasn't the sweater itself that I had the reaction to. :shrug: . It was never sent to the dry cleaners, so they can't be the culprit, but it used to be my friend's sweater so maybe she has something to do with it (but I highly doubt it). At least there's still cashmere. :teehee: