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So, 18 year old dd has been dealing with hives the past month or two. They are getting quite large and last night they covered her head to toe. Literally on her face to the bottoms of her feet. She’s been taking Zyrtec daily but it’s not stopping them. Oldest has had an allergy to heat since he was about 9 (he’s 20 more) and Zyrtec is all he needs. 

What could this be and what else can we try? I have a telehealth appointment next week with her pediatrician but would like to start trying to figure it out as it’s quite uncomfortable.

She is allergic to cats and has a cat. 🙃 But she actually only had issues the first week of getting the cat and has been fine the past two years with her.

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Just now, WendyAndMilo said:

Can she try living without the cat for a few weeks? 2 years with small doses of an allergen can cause a breaking point - I've learned this recently.

Ugh! This would be difficult for her. She got this cat when she was diagnosed with ASD and it’s been the best thing. Hopefully she will be in a dorm at least for a month or so in the fall if colleges can stay open so I guess we’d see then.

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Cat needs to sleep out of her bedroom and her bedroom needs to become a clean and safe place for her. Can you vacuum and dust it for her and wash all of her bedding on hot?

I agree that the cat is not a good idea. Masking the histamine reaction to the allergy is not the same as not having the allergy.

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Ok. The cat has become much more comfortable with all of us and being downstairs, so I think we could at least move to keep her out of dd’s room. She will probably be ok with that. I can add in some extra cleaning time every day as well. 

We’re already very careful about detergent and soaps because dd’s skin will get so dry so everything is unscented and sensitive skin type of stuff. We haven’t changed any of those things in years. I’ve been able to order in bulk on Amazon during the pandemic so we wouldn’t run out of the specific types we use. 

I just remembered I did take her in to doctor during the beginning of this virus because of how tired abs achy she has been. They tested her thyroid but never sent me the results. They did call to say they were normal but I never got to see them myself. Hives did come up when I just googled looking for a possible connection. I’ll be sure and ask on the phone call next week.

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2 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Some auto-immune issues manifest in persistent hives. 

I’m really wondering about this. She’s had weird things come up over the years and they never really tell us why. I did just take her in earlier this year because she was tired and achy. She also has ridiculously dry skin, especially her hands, and her hands and feet will get so cold. Her thyroid has always tested outside of normal but we saw a specialist who said she was just an outlier with testing. 
 

I just need to figure out what type of doctor she needs to see to figure this stuff out.

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1 minute ago, Joker said:

I’m really wondering about this. She’s had weird things come up over the years and they never really tell us why. I did just take her in earlier this year because she was tired and achy. She also has ridiculously dry skin, especially her hands, and her hands and feet will get so cold. Her thyroid has always tested outside of normal but we saw a specialist who said she was just an outlier with testing. 
 

I just need to figure out what type of doctor she needs to see to figure this stuff out.

Endocrinologist and/or rheumatoligist if it is auto-immune.

But ...having an animal you're allergic to in your house is really bad for your health, even if "the problem" is something else. You're just walking around with this low-level inflammation all the time. 

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Sometimes allergies can react to a threshold limit...  So if you're surrounded by only one or two allergens, your body can deal with it.  If you're surrounded by more than that, it can no longer deal with it.  I'd take away as much as you can and see if it makes a difference.  Also, have you tried other mainstream allergy meds like Allegra and Claritin?  I don't know if those would help with something like hives though.

One of our dd's has an autoimmune condition, and her body is overly sensitive to her environment generally.  Another has allergies to sun, cats, dank places (probably mold), certain detergents, old cigarette smoke, and many fresh fruits and veggies.  She also reacts to very cold weather.  Dank places and mold seem to be her biggest triggers though, so if those are out of the picture, she can usually tolerate the other things better.  (Although she can no longer touch cats, and her body is much happier without a cat in the room -- that part has actually gotten a little worse over the years.  She used to sleep with her cat when she lived at home!)

Oh, also, she seems to react more to everything in the early spring and fall, when season allergies also take their toll.

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I used to get hives when I was stressed when I was her age.  Eventually I started noticing what was happening when they appeared and for me the trigger was really obvious after I clued in.....it was my 10yo niece pestering me.  I was living at her house at the time.   We worked it out.....

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In my case, it turned out that Hashimotos was a major cause-any stress or exposure would lead to my breaking out in hives. Unfortunately, Ranitidine is off the market due to contaminants that are linked to cancer, because it, plus Zyrtec, plus hydroxine, was what it took to get mine under control until we got the Hashimoto's stable. I still break out occasionally when stressed, but it is much less common. 

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You can also look into a low histamine diet and try lowering hers. If she eats a lot of things like wheat, cheese, pork, aged beef, etc she could have too much histamine for her body to break down.

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stress can cause hives.  I didn't know it was a thing until my daughter broke out in hives while planning her wedding.  while doing internship rotations for her doctoral program.

she was told to get a lot more rest than she was getting.  (in addition to the zyrtec.)

 

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2 hours ago, Katy said:

You can also look into a low histamine diet and try lowering hers. If she eats a lot of things like wheat, cheese, pork, aged beef, etc she could have too much histamine for her body to break down.

Yes.  Also tomatoes, avocados, spinach, citrus fruits, yogurt, alcohol, and anything else fermented.  There are many lists online.   Some foods help lower histamine levels, like fresh apples.  (Maybe that's where the adage came from??)  

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Is it possible that she’s reacting more to the cat just because she is around it 24/7 now?  I’m guessing before the pandemic she spend hours and hours away from the cat. Is she going outside much the breath non-cat air?

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Like several others, I'd consider that there's a threshold effect.  My allergist and I have discussed how the foods on the histamine diet list can be OK when my allergies aren't bothering me, but can be an issue when I'm already dealing with an environmental allergy.  Increased cat exposure plus tomatoes might be a problem, while either alone would be OK, for instance.  

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Thanks, everyone! For now, taking Zyrtec in the morning and Benadryl at night is helping. There have still been a few hives but nothing awful like  it had been. She’ll continue this until we talk to the doctor on Monday. Hopefully, we can get testing to check everything out and go from there. 

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