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If you are prone to getting hives or ezcema, maybe my story will help you.

This photo is of uticaria; hives.  It often starts as general puffiness with  itchiness, and is often aggravated by heat or friction, even from clothing touching it.  It itches and burns ferociously, and if you give in and scratch, it balloons, swells, puffs up into red or white raised areas.  Just looking through the photos (to get some for this post) brought memories that made me want to cry.  It's awful.  What's worse is that some people have these for months or years at a time.

Photo credit: International Chronic Uticaria Society

I was reading my local online news today, and there was an article called "Treating ezcema and other rashes", part of a regular feature called "Mommy Medicine".  I posted a comment on the board, and then thought that maybe some of my blog readers would need the information, too.  Or maybe you know someone with this problem.  I sometimes break out in hives all over my entire  body, sometimes I can even feel my brain swelling with it, and NOTHING takes it away. I can't effectively explain how desperately miserable that is.  Benadryl doesn't touch it, nor cortisone cream, not oatmeal baths, not Eucerin, or calamine lotion- nothing!  To make it worse, they would stay for days.  I'd been to doctors, I'd been to naturopaths; nobody could explain why it was happening, other than there must be something I was allergic to.  But there was no consistent pattern that lead to any one allergy.  At least it wasn't contagious.

I noticed over time, though, that some foods seemed connected to the hives, though they couldn't account for all my cases.  I'd also only break out if I was stressed and  it was right before a certain time of the month, in addition to eating those foods, plus some mystery factors.  I searched online for "stress and hives" and found the website of the International Chronic Uticaria Society.  Reading through their info, I found a list of foods that are naturally high in histamines (the opposite of antihistamines!) and often trigger chronic hives. Every food that I suspected was a culprit IS on that list, as well as other ones that I'd been eating but not suspected.  I had hives when I found that food list; after immediately dropping every possible offending food, the hives cleared up after just 2 days instead of the usual 7.  I can still eat those things on a regular basis, but if I'm at a higher risk of hives (stress, time of the month), I back off for a few days, and I stay hive-free. 

My son has ezcema on a regular basis, as well as some ADHD, and avoiding that same food list helps tame both.  It's amazing.  All I can figure is that the ADHD  and ezcema both must be related to inflammation and the body's response to it.  The funny thing is that we had avoided some things for years with him, seeing that it made a huge difference in behavior- artificial color, artificial flavor, and preservatives- and those are all high in histamines.  Maybe he can blame my genes, after all.

If you want to see the food list, it's at http://urticaria.thunderworksinc.com/pages/lowhistamine.htm

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Uticaria on someone else's back.

All photos are from the International Chronic Uticaria Society.

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Uticaria on leg.    

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Uticaria on neck.  It also may be on the top, sides, back, and inside of the ear; on the scalp; on arms, palms, fingers, underarms, chest, rear end... anyplace there is skin.

 


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