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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Attack of the Hives

I had hives one time. Horrible experience  I feel for those who have it chronically; I can't imagine going through that for the rest of my life. My attack of hives was an interesting case. It happened one night during the weekend. I started getting these large welts on my stomach that itched something awful. I didn't think much of it until it happened again the next night... and the welts began to appear randomly. I looked at pictures, and noticed they muchly resembled hives. So, I began elimination therapy. I started making my own laundry soap (which I still use now, since it's a lot cheaper and seems to be just as effective at cleaning my clothes) and washed my sheets and clothes with it. I pretty much figured it wasn't a food allergy or anything of that sort (I'm not allergic to any foods that I know of). I'm only allergic to nickel and something in certain powdered deodorants. Nickel causes small itchy wheels to form, and the deodorant causes an itchy rash.

Anyway, nothing seemed to be working. I would randomly get these hives attacks and they would spread. Sometimes I'd get them down my neck and chest and arms. Other times, my stomach and legs, and yet others my back and buttocks. Then I realized one day as I was continually scratching my head that yes - I even was getting hives up there. I began to troll the forums, looking and just reading about this condition (that's where the "research" part of me comes in). When I got an attack of hives all over my body after a long, hot shower is when I began to learn about a form of hives called Cholinergic urticaria, but I didn't fit all the symptoms. As I asked people on the forums and explained my symptoms (in which I learned that I was getting hives attacks not just at random, but the parts of my body that were exposed to direct heat.) that I might have a rare version called localized heat urticaria. Being the cat/lizard that I am, I refused to give up my heat sources, even though it was directly causing my hives - albeit I would still get random attacks too. I had some benadryl so I tried taking that. I needed to take 6 in order to feel the effects (it quite literally knocked me out) AND stop the attacks. That's when I went to the pharmacy here at the hospital and bought some Allegra while I was at work (This was Friday - a full week after it started.)

Now I have an answer to the nurse's question of "Do you have any allergies?" I do now. Allegra. Yeah. Within about an hour of taking my dose, I not only began to get a hives attack along my jaw line, but my upper lip began to swell. I looked up Allegra side-effects. The lip swelling and hives were under "get emergency medical help". Yippie. I wasn't in any danger though. But I'd had enough. I walked over to Family Medicine where my PCP was, and requested an emergency appointment to get some steroids. I was not going to go through another weekend of this.
So, when she saw that I'd tried just about everything, she prescribed the steroids and thank God they worked. I don't know what I would have done if I had to deal with heat urticaria chronically. That's severely ironical, and quite honestly, mean :P

I haven't had an attack since, and I am eternally grateful for that!


  1. I have two hive triggers: Ivory soap and curry. The first time I had curry my face absolutely exploded in welts, and the soap affects every woman in my family. I have to be very careful with bathroom soap :)

    1. Yuck - I hate ivory soap. I actually bought it to make my laundry detergent but I hate the smell of it so I'll go back to Irish Spring next time. My allergy to powdered deodorants is selective. It started when after I turned 18 I was wearing Secret then I couldn't. Not even the kind for sensitive skin. I tried Sure. Same reaction. But I've found one now - Right Guard, that doesn't cause a reaction. It's strange.