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 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
All photos are from the International Chronic Uticaria Society.