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A slap in the immune system with an oily fish - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 10th, 2014

09:51 am - A slap in the immune system with an oily fish

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So a few years ago, I had a flatmate that had tinea. Unfortunately, I got it. It continued for a while as it seemed we kept reinfecting each other or something, and in combination with a whole bunch of stress, my immune system eventually went "Nope."


Silly name, sounds like something that should be in an Asterix book. But I'd hate to see what Goscinny and Uderzo would draw it like. *ahem*

Anyway, pompholyx is a skin condition that is sort of like eczema, but only really appears on hands and feet. It starts as little bubbles under the skin called vesicles, which itch but don't burst. Then after a week or so it turns into dry, flaky bits that then fall off. It's relatively benign but for some people the itching/scratching can lead to infection, and the constant loss of the epidermal layer leads eventually to scarring.

It's weird - it reacts to stress but also to some detergents, and sometimes random things as well - like some machine oils or paints. Anyway, it's yucky and somewhat temperamental, and has been going on since 2008.

At Christmas time, a small reaction started in the corner of one eye. Yikes.

Now, ages ago tieke made a post about how she'd used fish oil to get her eczema under control, and it works really well. I didn't even know she'd had eczema until she mentioned this in response to my talking about pompholyx. That's a testimony to its effectiveness, right?

Problem is, it's more complicated than just 'eat fish oil'. There are only some kinds that are of sufficient quality, and it has to be not-rancid (ie not on shelves for ages before buying), and I can't remember the dose rate. And LJ ate her post. Thus, I've never given it a fair go.

However, lately I've been buying hunks of raw salmon and eating it for lunch. Yes I know this makes me sound like a rich wanker, but given that it costs me less than $5 and that's cheaper (and tastier) than both fish oil pills and protein supplements - never mind the cost of a 'normal' lunch - I call it a win. I've been doing it about 3 times a week for maybe a month.

And my skin is clearing up! There's only one small dry patch on one knuckle at the moment, and the eye thing is completely gone. Phew!


So now I have an excuse to eat raw salmon on a regular basis. It really is working. I looked it up and apparently 100g of salmon contains about 2g of omega3 oil (which I'm assuming is the good stuff - everyone says it's the good stuff) as well as a bunch of protein.

And while there is always a risk to eating raw fish, I tend to take a fatalistic view of that while also taking all care to minimise it. After all, there's a risk to eggs, and chicken, and tomatoes, and..

OM NOM NOM NOM

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From:kehleyr
Date:April 9th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad it's helping!!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, me too! I am also a fan of tasty solutions. ;-) I just wish that salmon came around here so I could try catching one myself. Alas, they only live further south.
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From:susandennis
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Our medical system here in the U.S. sucks BUT, if you were here, you could probably get a prescription for salmon and get reimbursed by your insurance company PLUS get a tax right off.

Ok, so that's probably why our medical system sucks :)f

But, yeah for finding a delicious fix.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
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In NZ the medical system is mostly socialised. This means that doctor visits are subsidised and accident-related treatments are completely free, as are necessary operations. For something like this, I'd go to the doctor and maybe be prescribed creams (pompholyx is notoriously hard to treat), and maybe be sent to a specialist. But because it's not life or work threatening, it wouldn't be subsidised and I don't have medical insurance*.

I think that the salmon would be considered an alternative treatment so it probably wouldn't be subsidised either. It works out cheaper, I think, to just buy it. ;-)

*It's not compulsory here and I've never found it to be of value against the pretty good state system.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
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Sushi prescription!!!!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
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HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
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Ditto on the snuffly. Have you been snogging Dr Wheel too?

I have emerged from the covers and am trying to compose a letter in Finnish to my new Finnish penpal. So far google translate tells me I have said:

"Would like to learn more about you. Where are you working? Do you have children? I have one son, he is the name of Tommy and his eighteen years old. What is the name of the town where you live? Sorry, this is like talking about the kids. will you please"

Which sounds better than I thought it would, except I am trying to say that it's like talking *with* a child not *about* one. *headdesk*

*dives back under covers*
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From:pombagira
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
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yay fish...

so, you know how Graeme? from Fridaynight fidels talks about growing plants with a correctly balanced soils, with all the required minerals, elements etcetc then the pests are less likely to invade and eat all your plants.. sooo.. would it follow the same thing for the body? when it is all balanced with minerals and vitamins, then it is less likely to be eaten by bugs.. *ponders this*

also i have a house guest.. and actual physical one, he arrived yesterday and the cat didn't run away to fast.. and was sleeping soundly in my lounge this morning.. i am a bringing him to fidels on friday.. :D

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From:tatjna
Date:April 9th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
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I thought his name was Grant. And I think you/he are right, because people who eat well get sick less often. Although, I have the dreaded lurgy right now so I dunno.

I'm supposed to be going to Foo tomorrow, but if I'm anywhere near as sick as Dr Wheel was with this, I should probably stay home. Reserving judgement till tonight.
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From:richaarde
Date:April 10th, 2014 04:14 am (UTC)
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I get pompholyx too. I found that antibacterial soaps will bring it on just about every time, although sometimes it happens on it's own too. It's bad enough that if the soap at a lavatory is antibacterial, I won't use it. I'll just rinse my hands the best I can. (Gross, I know, but it just isn't worth the itching.)

I had no idea fish oil would ease it. Thanks for the tip!
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From:c_maxx
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Antibacterials soaps with triclosan are nasty! It's classed as a pesticide by the US EPA.

I worked with chemicals for years, and nowdays won't go near them except for MY reasons on a bet. Did I get that last expression right?
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From:downwardlashes
Date:April 10th, 2014 05:19 am (UTC)
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How do you eat it? I'm imagining you with just a plain chunk of raw fish.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:08 am (UTC)
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Yep, that's exactly it. Cut it into bite sized chunks and eat it. It's tasty!
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From:nick_101
Date:April 10th, 2014 06:34 am (UTC)
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Glad the raw fish you ate is solving your skin problems.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:09 am (UTC)
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Thanks! It's really nice to have non-skoady looking hands again. Now to get rid of this cold!
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From:meathiel
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:11 am (UTC)
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Sorry but ... raw fish ... yuck! (As you can guess, no I don't eat sushi either!)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
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I understand. Some people are grossed out by uncooked things. Me, I like my steak still bleeding and all kinds of raw fish. I'm a big fan of sashimi too.

I like it cooked as well by my lazy bones appreciate that I can eat it raw if I want. ;-)
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From:bekitty
Date:April 10th, 2014 09:03 am (UTC)
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Oo! Salmon, you say? I'm going to have to try that myself. I just had another flare-up the other day.

Also, I've managed to find a whole range of soap/shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/body wash etc that I'm not allergic to. It's called Simple, and it's really good. The company is UK-based, but the products have been available in NZ since the 80s at least. I currently use their soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and hand wipes. Most of their stuff is non-perfumed or lightly fragranced -- none of it is overpowering. I can definitely recommend them!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC)
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My hands are trying to flare this morning, probably because I'm sick and have been burning the candle at both ends. But apart from a bit of 'oh, that's a bit itchy', it's nowhere near as bad as usual.
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:April 10th, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
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I had never heard the term pompholyx but it sounds like what I used to have on my hands - or rather, just two or three of my fingers, for some reason. Mine was cured by coconut oil - I started using it as a facial moisturiser and dipping my fingers into it to apply it got rid of the skin condition on my hands as well!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2014 01:46 am (UTC)
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I'm quite surprised how many people have mentioned suffering from this. It's pretty common from the looks of things..
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From:majesticarky
Date:April 10th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC)
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I actually have that from time to time. I have no idea what it's caused by, but it's mostly mild and goes away fast enough. It's nice to know the name of it though. At first when I started getting it, I was stressed that I thought I was breaking out into warts (which I have all over my feet before and it really sucked), so I would obsessively pick them all off and it hurt. Imma read wiki about it so I can maybe figure out how to treat it in case of another outbreak some time.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC)
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From what I understand, acute cases are quite hard to treat, because it's an immune system thing so the vesicles are just a symptom, and they don't respond all that well to creams and the like. The best I've found is to try and stay healthy and stress free, and avoid dishwash powder and the like. And eat lots of raw salmon! ;-)
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From:tieke
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Yay - best method ever for ensuring your fish oil is fresh!

Fwiw, eating a decent sized lunch of fresh salmon sushi around 4x/week didn't work for me the way a fish oil supplement does, but then I never got scientific about the dose or anything.

Also, after having it all over my hands and wrists for years and years, now it's cleared up I have zero scarring, though I guess not everyone is lucky like that.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
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Perhaps the amount of fish in sushi isn't really enough - I've been buying hunks about 100-150g of nothing but fish and eating that. I'm aware that this isn't everyone's cup of tea for lunch though. I love it. ;-)
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From:c_maxx
Date:April 10th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
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Hardly anything could be healthier than fresh fish all the time! Glad it's working.

My chiropractor had me on Omega 3s for a soft-tissue elbow injury and it was a wonderful anti-inflammitory, along with bromelain enzyme...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC)
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Hmm.. I supposedly have tennis elbow as well. I wonder if it'll make a difference to that too?
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From:didotwite
Date:April 11th, 2014 12:26 pm (UTC)

Omg

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Now I'm picturing you in your kayak, grabbing fish out of the water and taking a giant satisfied bite. Om Nom Nom.

He's a kiwi too. Just sayin'.

Glad it works!
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From:didotwite
Date:April 11th, 2014 12:26 pm (UTC)
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*like Gollum
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