I was diagnosed with dermatographism and skin itch hives last week. I never thought I had a hives condition. I actually thought it was normal when I was itchy and I scratched it that the skin would become raised. But what I knew was not normal was that I had frequent itchy fits that started almost 2 years ago. I thought I was allergic to something. My worry was that I was allergic to everything. I could not pin point it. There were so many different things that would start the crazy frantic scratching. I started to think about my life as a whole physically and emotionally.
I have always had sensitive skin, since I could remember. I have had eczema since infancy. Worst breakout was in my 20s - probably due to stress from college and came into contact with too many art chemicals, paints, solvents etc. PLUS STRESS - isn't that a chemical too?
When I would get hot my face became hot and blotchy - red and white. As a kid, the teacher would wonder if I was overheating and classmates would be concerned. I was just hot from exercise.
In my early 20s, my first skin itch fit occurred while exercising in front of the TV - I would have to stop when I was getting hot. I would instantly get itchy all over like an explosion. I decided that I could never do exercises close to a carpet ever again. A gym was better, although I realize now that subconsciously, I would stop before I got too hot. This was probably due to a fear of having another hives and skin itch explosion - especially in public. I decided that I hated exercise - the heat – the severe headaches after aerobics - the embarrassment and the weird looks from strangers because of my blotchy face and hives. I also hardly sweat at all. Just behind my knees and the back of my neck. I do not even need to wear underarm antiperspirant. I concluded that because of my lack of sweating, my body heat would build up inside and I would basically explode into hives and skin itch. I stopped exercising regularly. BAD IDEA.
In my mid to late 20's, I took 2 jobs and couldn't give up either because they were both really good for my career in different ways. In terms of my eczema, I looked at everything I came into contact with. I was still getting eczema on my hands and feet, just not as bad, I learned to control it with topical steroids and I also found that antifungal medications helped a little too - although I was never diagnosed with ringworm. I suspected that I was allergic to the natural yeast that we all live with on our bodies. I also found that I was sensitive to latex, no latex band aids, no latex condoms - it gave me instant eczema. So did black stretch spandex socks especially if they were washed a few too many times.
I was finally diagnosed with dermatographism and skin itch hives by an allergist. POOP - I was hoping there was one thing that it could be - one thing that was causing me to be sensitive to everything.
I thought it could be physical. I want to ignore that it could be stress because that would mean changing everything about my current being. It would mean I would have to stop obsessing about every angle. But maybe it is all connected.
I think it is hereditary too, so is parts of our personalities, and our minds. We also inherit learned responses from our parents. Sometimes it is a mad cycle, the physical affecting our minds and the other way around. Both sides of my family have been affected by sensitive skin and eczema. I also react to stress exactly the same as my parents and my grandparents.
Our skin it the largest organ in our body. It is covered in nerves, it keeps us safe from the elements, it regulates our temperature, it is our face to the world, and it basically keeps us from falling apart. Or it's supposed to.
When I get an skin itch hives fit, I literally feel like I am coming unglued. I do not think about anything else. All I care about is getting rid of the skin itch and the hives.
I still do not believe that it is only stress related because the skin itch hives will occur even if I am totally happy. It will happen even if I am in an entirely different environment and at different times of the year. Maybe the hives are a delayed reaction to an allergen???
It is a mystery. So we have to work with what we know. What can we change? Our skin is so important, but it seems that the inflictions we get with skin are probably just as incurable and just as mysterious as our brains. Doctors try and try to do their best.
Keep it simple as they say in design. Why not the same for our lives and our bodies? Too much is just too much - our foods are far too complicated, products containing harsh chemicals in our houses, what we put on ourselves, what we breathe, and our complicated lives. Even what we wear likely plays a role. You know many companies even spray chemicals on new clothes to keep them fresh during transit to the stores! It is all just too much!!
I think our skin shows us what is wrong, like our nails show if we've been sick for too long. We turn yellow when our livers don't work. The rings of a tree show what their environment has done too them. Our skin shows us symptoms of our environments also.
I think I need to simplify me, simplify my diet, and stop obsessing about it all. I need to focus on things that are good to think about, good to eat, good to wear, and good to clean with. I even need to start exercising again, but I just need to know when to stop, and be ok with that. I need to stay away from things that are bad. If it feels bad, looks bad, smells bad, even if you think it is bad - it probably is. Maybe the skin itch and hives will go away too.
For now antihistamines are a great quick fix for the time being. But I sure do not plan on being on those for the rest of my life.
Emma – August 2, 2008
I have had hives with skin itch off and on ever since I was a little girl and my grandmother used to pack me in ice. The ONLY thing that ever worked for me was the very LAST resort back then - a cortisone shot. I had to suffer a long time before they would even consider this, and then I would be well for a long time.
I have had hives off and on since February of this year, but just recently my hives have been worse than I have had them in years. At first I thought it was my Blue & Gold Macaw that I bought in November 2007, but I have had birds for the last 30 or more years of my life, and then I thought it could be the Zoloft I got off of and started taking again after 4 months. Perhaps I will never know what it was that caused it this time. I am gluten-intolerant, so I don't eat anything with wheat or flour in it.
I feel like I've been in HELL the last 7 days with HIVES! I have taken mega doses of Benadryl and Zyrtec, taken tepid oatmeal baths, ice packs and more ice packs, boiled mint, oregano, basil & echinacea leaves with tea and still no relief. I went to bed last night with ice packs under my butt and on the tops of my feet, my hands looked like "catchers mitts" and hurt beyond words can describe. I've cried a MILLION tears and the pain of the skin itch has been so unbearable that I thought I would rather die than go through another minute of this personal hell!
I went to an Allergist today and finally got the famous steroid shot, and he gave me 5 days worth of Prednisone pills (to take 2 each day). The hives started dissipating, but then they showed back up tonight. The hopelessness started returning. Finally, I remembered my friend telling me that Oil of Oregano was miracle oil so I started spreading it all over my arms, where the hives were the worst and within 15-20 minutes the hives were gone from my arms! I have to say that I also took another Prednisone pill during this time, but I don't think it could have worked as fast as it did, so I really believe there is something to this Oil of Oregano that I bought at Whole Foods!
I wanted to share this with all those people out there who are suffering from this hideous rash that is debilitating for some of us. It is my worst nightmare when it comes on! After trying Atarax and the 5 day Dose Pack twice in a couple months time, Allegra 180, Zantac, Zyrtec, Claritin and God only knows what else, I would never have believed that this Oil would be my saving grace! God bless all of you out there who are or have experienced this. I hope you are able to get some hives and skin itch relief, as I finally have.
Judy – August 1, 2008
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