HyperSensitive Skin and Dermographism Skin Hives

by Tesh
(New Zealand)

I have just found online, after searching the words "hypersensitive skin", "touch" and "hives" in search engines that I have dermatographism. I am so thrilled to not be alone in this weird skin condition that sounds like a joke. Looking at other's stories on this website I can see that this was brewing a long time.

I am normally fit and well and I am a nurse with ED and ICU experience (which helps to go through the medical literature and understand it).

I was always the purple face on the sports field. In my twentys, the wrong alcohol would give me an instant rash with one mouthful around my neck and/or across face with the intense feeling of heat (like my head would blow up). This incidently got so bad after having my first child I stopped drinking altogether for years as one mouthful would ruin the next 3-6 hours for me. It just wasn't worth ruining a rare evening out.

I react very badly to mosquito bites, huge dinner plate sized welts and that is when I don't scratch. If bitten on my face or neck my throat swells. Sandfly bites drive me crazy for up to six days but I just get deep purple spots with them not welts.

I don't know if anyone else has had sinus problems which may over time effect the immune systems function. Since having my children, the last 10 years, chronic sinusitis has been an ongoing problem with maybe five very bad flare ups taking 6 to 8 courses of antibiotics to clear. Antibiotics are a last resort for me and I only allow myself them when pain is unbearable and my ears are involved. Otherwise I take the natural route, nasal washes and oil drops with essential oil drops in it.

Which brings me to my current problem.

Six weeks ago I made sand castles on a black sand beach with my children. On leaving and brushing the sand off my my legs I was left with a three inch wide racing stripe welts from my knees to my big toes down the centre of my feet also (everywhere in contact with the sand). It lasted six hours, looked laughably ridiculous, and I thought it was a sand allergy.

Two weeks later, I was in the surf for two and a half hours with my kids boggie boarding. I could notice a very bright red coming up on my arms and thought I must be sunburnt (despite 50+ sunscreen). We got out and after showering, changing and warming up I realised I had full blown hives (one welt from wrist to elbow standing out an inch) all over my body and I could not stop scratching. I went straight to the pharmacy for Phenergan.

I went to a doctor three days later as I was still having urticaria (redness) coming up and down randomly which was hot to touch and itchy. I noted at the time pressure seemed to make the welts/redness come up.

I was given an eight day course of prednisone and advised to start taking regular antihistamines (which I do anyway for my sinus problems).

Four weeks later, the redness to pressure is still occuring. I am getting worried and decided to do my own research which brings me to now.

I have a doctors appointment next week. The antihistamine I take normally is an H1 antihistamine. Medical documentation suggests if this isn't working to try an H2 antihistamine. I purchased some Ranitidine over the counter to last until I see doctor and can say happily that redness has all but gone and I went back into the sea today for 2.5 hours. Not completely gone but definitely reduced. Thank goodness I am not allergic to sand like I originally thought.

I realise I may be in for the long run but hearing from other people with similar stories for comparisons would be much appreciated.

Read more on treatments for urticaria, welts, hives, or dermatographism.

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