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Tormented by an outbreak of hives by Tina Y. Gerber

It started out like hives last September, after the death of my Mother and my corresponding retirement. Hives can affect 20 percent of individuals during their life and can be triggered by substances or an emotional or stressful situation, like other rashes. Hives have been a familiar annoyance my entire life!

My hives started as a swollen itchy patch of skin which turned into swollen red welts, moving from my shoulders, chest, back, and trunk area. This uncomfortable itch comes and goes, and the term commonly used to describe this outbreak is called urticaria. I have trouble sleeping and feel miserable when it flares up because it is the worse type of itchiness imaginable. Four months later, I am still struggling!

Unfortunately, not all hives triggers can be identified. Some people live with hives for months or years without knowing the cause.

Contact dermatitis is one of the most common causes of rashes. It is important to consider the small cues which can help you determine what type of rash you have.

Armed with knowledge, you can focus your treatments for relieving dry, itchy, swollen and irritated skin. I have talked to my doctor, who recommended an antihistamine to reduce itching and swelling, along with Rx cream. We discussed the situation, asking all the questions necessary to understand what was/is causing me to scratch myself raw. We talked about stress, bedbugs, scabies, fleas, change of shampoos, medication, food etc. I also experience hives when I eat a combination of oranges and eggs. We have changed to enjoying a diabetic diet plan, and I have introduced a variety of new things, in particular, nuts. My husband was unaffected, so it is a mystery to both of us at this time.

Your doctor may recommend an allergist to perform a ‘skin prick’ test or blood test to confirm the suspected trigger. Your doctor may recommend a carefully supervised food or medication check. I take one medication for diabetes, Tylenol, and vitamins, but it is important to consider everything. Work with your doctor to try to identify a trigger or triggers, and keep open lines of communication.

Hives can also cause more serious symptoms, like trouble breathing or swallowing, and swelling of the lips are the symptoms of anaphylaxis. It is important not to ignore symptoms or put off medical care which can put your health at risk.

I feel uncontrollably itchy and uncomfortable most days but continue to pray and meditate. Life is busy, so we all must make time for our wellness or be forced to make time for our illness. Staying calm is sometimes hard when your body wants to rest and needs time to heal. Hives have once again forced me to learn more about my body and commit to treating it with respect.

I am grateful for this experience, it has reminded me our health is our most valuable commodity. Happy New Year’s.

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