Hives and Facial Swelling and Redness

by Lisa
(Ontario, Canada)

I wish that physicians would read these stories. I cannot believe the blank look I get from doctors every time I have to go to the emergency room with severe edema causing the hives, swelling of eyes, lips, and throat. I did not get a diagnosis until I was 36 years old and I am now 38.

I see the progression of my condition as outlined below. In late public school I stopped doing the sports I loved because when I would run cross country or get highly involved in a basketball game, my face would become flushed, red and my temperature would rise dramatically. I would also experience a tightness in the throat and breathing would become laboured with wheezing. This continues today to the point that I cannot even take an aerobics class! At 16 years old, I experienced my first edema where the facial swelling was so bad that my throat closed and I had to be given epinephrine. I continue to have this happen, though not often to that severity. I do need to carry an epipen, however.

Mosquito bites or other insect bites anywhere near my face make my entire face swell and eyes swell shut. It takes forever for scabs to heal. If I sit in the sun for any length of time I end up with itchy bumps on my forearms and chest. And the welts from any scratching are a daily occurance.

The worst part is that no doctor seems to have heard of it and the allergist just told me it was something I would have to live with. No treatment. No support. I am on my own! So I thank all of you who have shared your stories.

Thank God for Benadryl!

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