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Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:22 PM

 

Hives and Time of Year?

Last year I got hives in the beginning of January. Had never had them before. I saw my primary care, an allergist, and an immunologist, and even my psychiatrist was trying to help.

None could figure it out, except the immunologist said in his opinion it's not an allergic reaction but an auto immune over reaction, but we will likely never find out what is triggering it. Any way he put me on high doses of Antihistamines and they finally went away in September of 2014.

They came back two weeks ago. Given that it started in the same month both times could that be a clue? My sister said she didn't think so because they lasted through the summer but the immunologist had told me once an over reaction is triggered it can take a lot of time and antihistamines to shut it back down.

He can't see me again till April and just told me to go back on the meds in the meantime.

I will follow his advice but the antihistamines make it hard to stay alert and I sure wish I could figure out what is setting them off so they will stop coming back. I was wondering whether low Vitamin D because of lack of significant sunlight could be a trigger? Has anyone ever heard of time of year being a factor in causing hives?

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply Hives and Time of Year? (Original post)
Liberalynn Feb 2015 OP
ladjf Feb 2015 #1
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #3
ladjf Feb 2015 #6
MADem Feb 2015 #2
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #9
HappyMe Feb 2015 #4
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #10
HappyMe Feb 2015 #12
yuiyoshida Feb 2015 #5
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #11
Gidney N Cloyd Feb 2015 #24
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #37
CountAllVotes Feb 2015 #7
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #13
whatchamacallit Feb 2015 #8
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #16
HappyMe Feb 2015 #30
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #39
HappyMe Feb 2015 #44
VanillaRhapsody Feb 2015 #54
Arkansas Granny Feb 2015 #14
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #17
MineralMan Feb 2015 #15
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #18
MineralMan Feb 2015 #19
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #35
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2015 #20
safeinOhio Feb 2015 #21
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #41
VanillaRhapsody Feb 2015 #55
GoCubsGo Feb 2015 #22
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #42
Pathwalker Feb 2015 #23
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #43
LiberalEsto Feb 2015 #25
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #46
tabbycat31 Feb 2015 #26
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #47
VanillaRhapsody Feb 2015 #56
peace13 Feb 2015 #27
Name removed Feb 2015 #32
HappyMe Feb 2015 #36
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #45
Name removed Feb 2015 #28
HappyMe Feb 2015 #31
hrmjustin Feb 2015 #33
uppityperson Feb 2015 #38
Action_Patrol Feb 2015 #40
uppityperson Feb 2015 #29
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #48
pnwmom Feb 2015 #34
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #50
pnwmom Feb 2015 #53
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #59
VanillaRhapsody Feb 2015 #57
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #60
VanillaRhapsody Feb 2015 #61
pipi_k Feb 2015 #49
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #51
Warpy Feb 2015 #52
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #58

Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:23 PM

1. What part of your body is effected the most? nt

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Response to ladjf (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:25 PM

3. There on my bottom and legs the most

 

but have also had some on arms, and back and occasionally one or two on lip.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:31 PM

6. Well, I've had trouble with itchy bumps on my legs from the ankles up to the top of

my calves. My problem seems to start in the Winter time and is related somehow to my athletic socks. The itching usually starts under the elastic parts of my socks. Also, the cold air seems to exacerbate the problem.

Looks like your problem is not similar to mine. Good luck. I know that it is uncomfortable and makes it difficult to sleep.


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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:24 PM

2. Allergic to .... SNOW?

Couldn't hurt to pump up the Vitamin D....

Maybe take a vacation to a sunny spot and see if that helps?


Here's an article you might want to look at: http://allergicliving.com/2010/11/22/hives-cold-induced-hives/

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Response to MADem (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:32 PM

9. Maybe on the Snow

 

I am going to increase the amount of Vitamin D I am taking. They did test me way low at one point. It came up with the supplement level of 2000 but only to the lower end of acceptable scale. Dr. told me it was good enough but I wonder if it's dropped again.

Maybe I will ask my second cousin in Florida if I could visit.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:27 PM

4. Ask your doctor before taking any additional vitamin D.

I'm allergic to wool, that's the only thing that would cause them on me in winter.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:34 PM

10. I am going to call primary care and ask if he can test the D again.

 

It's been awhile.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:37 PM

12. That's a good idea.

I know that there are some vitamins that are stored and others that are used quickly (don't ask me which though). It wouldn't be good to add to your problem because you were taking the wrong thing.

I hope you feel better soon. Maybe the primary care guy can recommend a better antihistamine.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:27 PM

5. I HATED THEM!

Got them with eating strawberries and also got them with eating Nutella. God Awful!!

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:36 PM

11. Yes they are

 

The only things that take the itching away is either Sarna or Avveno Baths.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 04:43 PM

24. I've had decent results with the Sarna, too. I don't know what's in it that does the trick.

Ice packs are good sometimes.

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Response to Gidney N Cloyd (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:58 PM

37. I had never heard of it before last year

 

when the pharmacist recommended it.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:31 PM

7. Broke out with severe hives myself

It was after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in SF; an "allergic" reaction the earthquake it seems (and wow were the ER's ever full of people after this occurred!).

I went to the ER and they gave me some pills (antihistamines) which did no good at all.

I got worse and went back to the ER again and they shot me up with a bunch of stuff and the hives went away after that.

It was pretty scary as they thought I had the measles which was not the case!

You might go back if you are really uncomfortable.

I know I would!

No reason to suffer needlessly!

Take care!!

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:42 PM

13. Thank You!

 

At first the antihistamines weren't working on me either. The immunologist said I wasn't taking enough. He boosted the dose and told me to stay on them for six weeks. That did work the last time, hope it does again.

When the treatment though is first starting though I still have break outs and the meds make me sleepy.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:31 PM

8. My kid would get them from sun exposure and exertion

They come and go for him. Funny thing is we were playing one on one the other day and his face started getting blotchy. Maybe there is a seasonal factor...

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:51 PM

16. That is odd.

 

I read some people can get hives due to cold or heat but the immunologist had me run an ice cube over my arm and it didn't raise any hives. I started to wonder about the Vitamin D this year because it seemed to coincide with the start of the frigid stormy weather and the cloudy skies.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:43 PM

30. Sunlight helps your body process vitamin D.

Maybe because you are taking a little extra vitamin D the lack of sunlight isn't lettng your body process it properly.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:00 PM

39. That's possible.

 

I want to have them test my Vitamin D levels even if they can't get me in for an appointment in the next few days.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:13 PM

44. Have them test all vitamin levels while they are at it.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 07:36 PM

54. No...sunlight CREATES vitamin D....

 

so that is not the case...

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:43 PM

14. I'm sorry about the hives. They can certainly be miserable. I had outbreaks of hives that lasted

for about 3 years. The first was so bad that my legs looked like I had been scalded. The doctor couldn't determine a cause and I was never able to single out any certain trigger. I would go for a few days with no symptoms and then suddenly start itching and discover a patch as big as the palm of my hand. It finally tapered off over the course of a few months and I haven't had an episode now in a couple of years.

Most antihistamines really give me the blahs and I hate taking them. My doctor had me take Zyrtek for the itch, which didn't make me drowsy, and they are now available OTC. You might ask your doctor if that would be suitable for you.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:53 PM

17. Thank You! I am glad yours are under control now.

 

I will check with him about the Zyrtek.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:44 PM

15. If you are in a cold climate area, see the link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_urticaria

If this applies to you, speak to your doctor about it. It's not uncommon.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:57 PM

18. I am in Western N.Y.

 

and we are definitely in a cold spell. Thank You for the link.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 03:59 PM

19. You might want to discuss the possibility with

your primary care professional, then.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:56 PM

35. Thank You!

 

I am planning on making an appointment with him.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 04:01 PM

20. Winter indoor air quality is tough for people with allergies.

 

Every winter my allergies act up.

I get hives from epoxy to which I'm often exposed. Prednisone is the only fix.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 04:19 PM

21. I have suffered from hives for years

At first it was tomatoes, that went away and it became shellfish, pollen, mold, sunshine and whatever. Ended up in ER at least once a year all swollen up looking like an alligator.
My vet gave me a tip that has always worked. DiphenhydrAMINE injections---injectable benadryle. Works way faster than the pills and less tired as I can regulate the doze better. You'll have to learn how to inject it. Really easy, in the hip, with a very small insulin needle. Also cheap. Both my doctor and the pharmacy had to look it up.
I can always tell when it's going to be really bad as the top of my starts to itch.

It gets worse certain times of the year. I take a Alavert disintergrating tablet every day and that help a lot. But the injections are a life saver for me. I've had 3 different GPs and none had ever heard of this, but still write the script for me every year.

good luck

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:07 PM

41. Thank You!

 

Sorry you have them too. I will talk to my doctor about the injectable benadryl. They have been having me take a combination of Zantac which has antihistamines in it and hydroxizine which I was already on to treat my anxiety disorder, they just up the dose. I'm not sleepy when it's just the hydroxizine but when I have to take the Zantac on top of it I can barely stay awake.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 07:39 PM

55. If you go to the ER with an allergic reaction...the first thing they do is a shot of Benadryl

 

followed by Decadryl and usually some prednisone gets into the mix. If you have asthma they will give you Epinephrin which if I recall correctly is adrenalin

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 04:35 PM

22. Not time of year. More like temperature or sun exposure.

If I spend too much time out in the sun in the summer, and forget to wear sun screen, I break out in hives wherever I have unexposed skin. I also just recently watched an episode of "The Doctors", where a mom thought her baby might be allergic to water, as he broke out in hives after he got a bath. It turned out that he had a reaction to the cold. For reasons unknown, ones body might produce large amounts of histamines in reaction to temperature extremes, resulting in hives. I'm thinking you might have a temperature sensitivity issue, rather than seasonal allergy issue. Look up "cold uticaria", and maybe something might ring a bell there.


On edit, I see that Mineral Man has already brought this up.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:09 PM

42. I am definitely going to bring this up with the doctors.

 

The January start date could be a coincidence but it just seems like it might be a clue.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 04:42 PM

23. Would a Sun Light lamp help? I was prescribed one for

low vitamin D levels several years ago, and it helps me. it will also not expose you t too much vitamin D, which can also cause problems. I wish you the best of luck, sounds awful.

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Response to Pathwalker (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:11 PM

43. I have been thinking about getting one.

 

I've heard they can help elevate mood too.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:04 PM

25. Where do you live? It could be pollen, even in winter.

 

I'm in Maryland, and every year I get allergic itching, asthma and other symptoms starting in January, extending to the end of April. After many years and some allergy testing I've figured out that it's caused by various types of tree pollen.

Even if trees aren't blooming in your immediate area, I have read that pollen can drift for hundreds of miles.

Cedar and juniper bloom much earlier than I thought. The National Allergy Bureau posted low but measurable counts for airborne cedar pollen in Washington D C on Jan. 20 and 29, 2015, in addition to various kinds of molds. Link: http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx

Another web site, Pollen.com, has information on what kinds of plants may be blooming in a given area during each season. Here's the link for my part of Maryland.

http://www.pollenlibrary.com/Local/Significant/Allergens/in/Montgomery%20County/MD/

I was surprised to see that there may be pollen from trees like white mulberry during the winter, but I suppose it can drift on the wind.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:20 PM

46. I live in Western N.Y.

 

Thank You for the links. I will check those out. The allergist thought there was a possibility that it could be environmental but the immunologist said since it's chronic and doesn't vary even when I stay at my sister's it's something internal inside my system. That's why I am wondering about the change in D levels due to lack of direct sunlight.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:07 PM

26. could it be environmental?

I know (personally speaking) that I get hives with anything that has been in contact with a dryer sheet. So if a sock of mine is accidentally put in the dryer then the skin around my ankle will break out into hives.

I've largely solved the problem by using a free and clear laundry detergent (and very little at that) and air drying my clothes (indoors or outdoors).

As for the lack of sunlight, there's something called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I know I have whatever the opposite is. I'm a winter person.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:24 PM

47. The immunologist

 

said he thinks it's something internal inside my system rather than a response to an allergen. The allergist still thought it could be an allergy.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #47)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 07:41 PM

56. what you describe does sound internal

 

I once had a terrible deadly reaction to 2 drinks with Sloe Gin in them.....I am deathly afraid of that liquor to this day! If I recall it is from the berry which is added to the gin which is in the Elderberry family.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:20 PM

27. My husband never had a hive in his life until...

 

..he got a major respiratory infection in December. The final phase of that ordeal was hives pretty much all over his body. He did use antihistamines and they finally went away.

I am sorry to hear that yours are back. I hope that you are feeling better soon! Hang in there!

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Response to peace13 (Reply #27)


Response to Name removed (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:58 PM

36. Are you a doctor?

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Response to peace13 (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:14 PM

45. Thank You

 

Glad to hear your husband's went away. The immunologist did mention infections as a trigger. They ran all sorts of blood tests and didn't find anything.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:44 PM

31. You shouldn't be doling out medical advice.

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Response to Name removed (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:44 PM

33. No good books to read today lg?

 

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Response to Name removed (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:58 PM

38. "Again". You missed that word, "again".

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Response to Name removed (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:00 PM

40. Paging Dr Bombay!

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:40 PM

29. I have had a histamine reaction to cold on my skin, ends up as hives. Histamine reactions are weird

sometimes easy to figure out the reason, others not so easy. I haven't heard of time of year factor. Good luck to you.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:27 PM

48. They sure are weird.

 

One thing all three docs said is finding the cause is like the old adage "finding a needle in a haystack."

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 05:55 PM

34. I was getting hives off and on in the year before I was finally diagnosed with gluten sensitivity.

I've never had them in the 15 years since I stopped eating gluten, so I think there was a connection. (My diagnosis was based on other symptoms, including intestinal bleeding. It was a nice bonus that my hives also went away.)

Allergies are additive, so it could be that you have another issue in the winter -- we have mold here -- and that the combination of mold and other sensitivities put you over the top during this season.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:29 PM

50. Thanks!

 

The immunologist did mention testing for gluten sensitivity if they came back. So now that they are back I will remind him of it.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 07:07 PM

53. Something to keep in mind . . .

keep eating wheat and other foods that contain gluten while you wait. Otherwise the tests won't be valid.

Also, the most-recommended blood test only tests for Celiac disease, which causes a specific kind of damage to the upper intestine. The older tests for anti-gliadin antibodies will also pick up other forms of gluten sensitivity. You should ask for the "full panel," not just the Celiac-specific test. I was positive on 2 of the three tests, so my doctor told me to try the diet anyway -- and a few days later I was so much better, and the bleeding I'd been having for months disappeared completely.

Also, if you have a positive Celiac test, some doctors want to confirm it with an endoscopic biopsy. A positive biopsy will certainly confirm it. But a negative biopsy from the upper intestine doesn't rule out other gluten sensitivity problems -- like damage to the lower intestine, which is what I had. Unfortunately, there is no simple test for that. Sometimes the only way to find out is to go on the diet -- scrupulously -- and see what happens.

It's a good sign that your doctor mentioned this. He's probably very aware and will give you good advice.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #53)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:43 AM

59. I am going to ask if he will run these tests.

 

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 07:43 PM

57. have they given you the full spectrum allergy tests yet?

 

this is where they put pin pricks across your back...each of which is a known allergen...then they wait to see if any of them swell up...then they know what you are allergic to.

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #57)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:44 AM

60. They haven't done these tests yet.

 

He may want to do them now that there back.

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Response to Liberalynn (Reply #60)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:10 AM

61. Sounds like to me you need to find out what exactly you are allergic to..

 

and then you might be able to get allergy shots to alleviate them. I had that done as a child....

Dust, grass, weeds, pollen, animal hair and feathers (most especially cats), mold...etc.

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:27 PM

49. Yep

One of my sisters used to get cold-induced hives on her hands when she was younger. Big white itchy lumps. Never in summer...always in winter.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:32 PM

51. The cold sensitivity makes sense.

 

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Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 4, 2015, 06:55 PM

52. You might need to clobber them with steroids

Having hives 9 months out of 12 is simply unacceptable.

You're right that it's a clue. It's likely something in the environment that only builds up to trigger levels after the house has been shut up for a couple of months. I'd probably start with known allergens like perfumes in everything from air freshener to soap.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #52)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:41 AM

58. They gave me steroids when this first started

 

for ten days. I knocked them out but came back three days after I finished the prescribed course. The allergist and Primary Care felt the negative aspect of steroids was too much of a risk to continue.

However, the immunologist just kind of scoffed at that. I think he will be willing to put me on a longer course now given that the antihistamines are no longer controlling them.

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