Dermatographism Skin Inflammation and Antihistamines

by Arun Sekhar
(New Delhi)

Inflammations in skin on arm done with fingernails

Inflammations in skin on arm done with fingernails

I am Arun Sekhar from India and I'm 22. I was born in New Delhi and lived there for my first 18 years and I got used to the extreme hot and cold climates of Delhi. Then I got admitted into a college in Chennai, which is a city near the beach and it has a hot and humid climate. I lived there for 3.5 years and didn't face any allergy problems apart from sneezing, which I believe is a dust allergy due to my smoking.

After 3.5 years, I came back to Delhi during the winter (4-15 degrees Celcius) to do a project for 4 months in a laboratory with harmful chemicals. These chemicals included: Dimethyl formamide, Dicholomethane, Triflouroacetic acid, DIPCDI, Bacterial cultures, acetone, chromic acid, ethanol, starch, etc. Due to the winters, I had to wear my old winter clothes which were pretty tight after 3.5 years. Also in the meantime my uncle passed away and that was the first time I touched a dead body. In these 4 months, I started eating a type of mouth freshner almost everyday and in the middle of these four months, I was sometimes under emotional stress due to my family.

One day, I rubbed a wooden round cylinder like thing on my hand and pop. Everywhere there was contact on the skin, the skin became warm and itchy and then popped out! I was literally freaked out. My mother told me she had had such a problem before. Then with a few more experiments and research on the internet I discovered that it was dermatographic urticaria. It sure is irritating and I wish it will go away soon.

After 4 months when I went back to Chennai, it was showing signs of reduced inflammation but when I'm back in Delhi it is chronic again, especially in the evenings. The worst part is it is too itchy on the legs. I consulted a dermatologist, and looking at it for 3-5 seconds, he said I should take Allegra (Fexofenadine) which is an antihistamine for one month. It had negligible effects on my skin, but it took away most of my sleep at night! Then I tried to self medicate myself with some Cetrizine, which is also an antihistamine that I had in my refrigirator. CETRIZINE sucks! It made me so drowsy, I couldn't work the next day at all. Now I am deprived of my usual sleep routine too.

I badly need a cure for this as it has been almost 6 months. I am planning to visit my dermatologist again to get a better antihistamine because that is the only cure I could find. As far as the causes go, I have put down a few possibilities:

1. The shift to Delhi's cold weather.
2. The harmful chemicals in my laboratory.
3. The tight winter clothes.
4. Touching the corpse (which was the first time).
5. The mouth freshner.
6. Emotional stress.
7. Allergic reaction to wood which started it all!
8. Inherited from my mother.

I am not working in that lab anymore and I am planning to shift to Chennai soon. I have not been near that mouth freshner and I am staying away from wood!

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Feb 17, 2011
Try a H2 Antihistamine like Ranitidine
by: tesh

I have just got dermatographism in the last 5 weeks. I found taking Cetirizine and Ranitidine [twice a day] together dramatically reduces the overall itch and the hive swelling response from touch.

Oct 11, 2010
Skin Hives
by: Anonymous

Hi Arun. I also have the same problem. It especially becomes worse in the night or evening. I was born and brought up at Chennai. After marriage, I came to US. Just after three months I felt itchy on the skin around the legs, hands and waist. When I scratch it becomes even more itchy. I consulted a doctor here and they suggested Zyrtec and Pepcid. I take Zyrtec everyday. I felt immediately relaxed after that. Please don't scratch. Apply gel which prevents itching.

Oct 09, 2010
Try the Elimination Diet
by: Anonymous

Try the elimination diet. Test for food allergies.
For one week eat chicken and/or lamb, rice
cooked fruit (it changes chemicals in it, and
boiled fruit juice

Then introduce one food at a time.

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