I recently experienced a very severe hives reaction. On the morning of the massive attack, I woke up feeling like I had an elephant sitting on my chest; it felt laborious to take in a good, deep breath. As the day went on, I started feeling a little better. Someone at work brought in a cake, and so I took a slice for after my lunch of a peanut butter sandwich on wheat, yogurt, and apple. The rest of the day concluded; I went to the gym and did my usual workout. I went home, and ate leftovers for dinner.
During the day, I had noticed a couple of raised, non-red bumps on my leg. I didn’t think anything of it until I scratched at them, and promptly forgot. But as the evening wore on, I noticed some bumps coming up on my face. Now, I have eczema, as you all know, and all this was coinciding with a swell of warm weather and subsequent huge spike of tree pollen. So in walking around in this pollen-filled air, it didn’t surprise me that I would be experiencing a topical reaction. In fact, I attributed the breathing issues with the inhalation of tree pollen.
I went to bed, and through the night, I started feeling prickles all over my body. Very subtle, but noticeable enough to wake me. I also noticed some prickles were more pronounced in my right armpit and my left ear, and kept waking up in the process of scratching them. At 1:30, 3:00 and 6:15 am I took Benadryl. And my left ear was indeed by then quite swollen.
When I awoke in the morning, I made my coffee, and then went to the bathroom to check out my ear in the mirror. The left side of my face was covered in red spots.
According to the docs, this hives reaction was not a topical one. It was definitely something I ate. And while I wait for the blood test results that are testing for the common food allergies (Peanuts/nuts, shellfish, eggs, gluten), I’ll say that when something like this happens to you, be very OVER reactive when it comes to treatment, because when swelling involves your face, it can involve your windpipe, and you could end up not being able to breathe.
So, although this was a serious incident for which I must now carry an Epipen and an inhaler, I wanted to spotlight the itching that subsequently comes with hives. It seems as if there are other more serious aspects of this medical issue on which I should focus, but itch is a very mysterious, and persistent sensation, that can frankly be quite disruptive to life. So, we’ll go on this journey together, and double back to talk about hives, more specifically, how and why they form.