Itchy Skin Hives - Dermatographism Blog

Well I have had this itchy skin hives condition for YEARS now – ever since I can remember, even though I am positive that I did not have it as a child. All I can really say about it is that itchy hives are ANNOYING. I just want to scratch my leg without it resulting in a response like - OMG what is that?

Danielle – June 10, 2008

I first noticed the itchy skin hives symptoms about six years ago when I was 19. At the time, I was working at a Mongolian grill type restaurant, where about once or twice a week I worked on a hot grill cooking stir fry. When I would get home from work and change clothes my entire torso would itch, and it was so bad I couldn't help but scratch and my entire back and stomach would be covered in long, red, welted lines. The more I scratched the more it itched. I thought perhaps this was due to all the sweating during work so I started showering at night. It helped a little but not much.

Around the same time, I also developed seasonal allergies. When I moved out of my parent's house to Colorado, I started using ALL Free & Clear detergent and dryer sheets. This seemed to lessen the severity of the hives episodes, but with the drier climate in CO, it started happening more frequently. Whereas before it only seemed to happen before bed, now it is any time during the day or night. I often scratch myself without even realizing it. My best friend would see the marks on my arms and she would freak out. She said I looked like I was attacked by a mountain lion. At some point, it even developed to the point that if I simply touched my face I would get a huge red blot. If I rubbed my eyes, people would think I was punched or something.

One day a wasp stung me on my hand. It swelled up and itched SOOO badly. After two days it started to get worse, so I went to the doctor. This was the first time I asked a physician about my skin and she told me I had dermatographism. She gave me a two-week supply of Claritin samples and told me to take that once a day and Pepcid ac twice a day. This really helped the hives and dermatographism! It was crazy. I would barely itch all day, and when it would finally start to come back, I would look at the clock and it would be about a half hour before I was supposed to take the next Pepcid. When I did scratch, I would still get the red marks but not the inflammation.

After about a week of this, I became extremely irritable; in short I had turned into a royal b*@%h. A week later, I ran out of the Claritin. In the next few days, I was unable to get to the store to get more so I just took the Pepcid. My itchy skin hives symptoms stayed the same as when I was taking both medications, but the irritability went away. I deduced it was the Claratin affecting my mood, so I decided not to continue taking it. After another week on the Pepcid, I still had the same results, if I itched I would get the marks without inflammation or hives and I would always start to itch about a half hour to an hour before it was time for the next pill.

I decided since I still had issues with itching and redness, the risks of long-term side effects outweighed the benefits of medication. Besides, it is not like it hurts, it is just annoying. I tried making some herbal tea with local honey, the health food store recommended a mixture that included nettle and thistle. It seemed to help a little, but I had to drink a ton of it to see results and it did not taste good enough to motivate me to drink it all the time.

So for about a year now I have not been treating the itchy skin hives at all, just been dealing with it. My boyfriend calls me his little etch-a-sketch. I have an appointment to go see a local dermatologist though. I am not too happy that my physician did not even attempt to help me find the cause though, she just through meds at it. What if I have some weird autoimmune disorder that is the underlying cause? This noni juice stuff sounds pretty cool. Have you heard from many other people that it helped?

Lauren - June 9, 2008

I have had itchy skin hives or dermographism for 14 years. My outbreaks come in spurts. I would have hives real bad for 10 months to a year and then nothing for 2-3 years. I have been to many doctors; no one seems to know much about this skin condition. I have been on Allegra, Zyrtec, Clarinex, Xyzal, Zantac, Benedryl, shots, inhaler, prednisone (lots), and had blood tests. I also try to watch what I eat, due to all the preservatives and dyes in everything, because I do have food allergies as well: strawberries and pepperoni.

Finally, my family physician and I decided it was time to go to Cleveland Clinic for the itchy skin hives and it has been a miracle. The doctor I am seeing up there has diagnosed me with Delayed Pressure Urticaria (DPU). Finally it is not in my head, it is a real diagnosis. After talking with him for two hours and he did a test on me and sure enough everything he told me would happen did. I feel somewhat relieved to know I am not crazy.

DPU is a rare disorder and not much is known, but I went home that first day and Googled it and was amazed to find information on it. Since then I am now on Allegra in the morning, Zyrtec, Zantac, and Xyzal in the evening. There is something else I can take but it is aspirin based and last time I had aspirin 14 years ago, I went into anaphalytic shock. My new doctor would like to do an aspirin test on me to see if I am still allergic, then I would just have to be on one pill a day instead of 4. Also, I use the Aveeno products, face wash, lotion, and bath packs (only when very bad outbreaks occur) because they work the best for me.

I hope my writing this might reach and help someone else in need. Fourteen years is a long time that I had to wait. I hope if this sounds like you, you won't have to wait as long as me to find a diagnosis.

Patti – June 8, 2008

I was diagnosed with this itchy skin hives condition after I had my first child at age 24 and then they finally got it controlled with Allegra 180mg daily. I was very well controlled for approximately 2 years, then I got pregnant again with my second child, and I could not take my Allegra in the first trimester. Needless to say, I was going crazy with these itchy skin hives. I then started up my Allegra again in the second trimester and took it throughout my pregnancy. I was well controlled then.

Since I have had my child, my Allegra is not working and they are having me try Claritin and Zyrtec again, which did not work for me in the beginning and so far it is still not working. The itchy skin hives are very frustrating and I am not sure what my Dr. is going to do.

Emily – June 3, 2008

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