Skin, Hives, and Scleroderma
I’m displeased by how these diseases have made themselves at home in my body. We were doing just fine before they crashed the party!
The other day, as I was sitting there minding my own business, I felt something go from warm to hot, to super itchy, on my skin. It was the type of itchy that makes the tiny hairs on the head stand on end. It didn’t take long for me to go from wanting to lightly scratch it to an all-out effort to stop myself from using a Brillo brush all over my welted body.
I couldn’t get past one burning, itching eruption on my body before another one popped up. You could have played Connect the Lines with these new linear welts, a condition known as dermatographia. It looked like a wild, rabid animal had scratched me all over my body.
But it was me — I was the wild, rabid animal.
I searched my kitchen high and low. My mother had to help me make a baking soda paste. OK, I didn’t make the paste. My mother — my angel — had to make the paste because I was hopping from one foot to the other. The fire had moved to my legs, and I looked like the hives had whipped me.
Mix up the paste. Dance around like no one is watching you do the itchy dance.
I tried my best to be patient with the paste-application process, but a severe desire to scratch myself made it a tad difficult. The itching fire soon made its way up the entire length of my legs, and the paste wasn’t working nearly as fast as I wanted it to.
In a last-ditch effort to protect my sanity, I applied ice packs to my red and burning legs, which welcomed the cold sensation. After a long 10 minutes, the itching began to subside, and I could finally breathe.
Yes, ice packs relieve the itching! You will thank me.
I take daily medication for chronic hives, which are associated with my scleroderma diagnosis. Dryness and itching are two of the worst symptoms. A Brillo pad attached to the end of a long pole would be my go-to solution for the itching, but doctors frown upon that.
Here is a hard-learned tip for you: Scratching makes it worse. So stop scratching!
When I could, I drove to the emergency room. Hives of this nature signify an allergic reaction and should be treated as an emergency. I wasn’t experiencing anaphylaxis, but driving wasn’t the best idea, as one hand was on the steering wheel while the other was ready to scratch to the bone.
I didn’t have to wait there long. I think it was the fire red skin that proudly displayed its itchy welts that allowed me quicker passage behind the emergency room doors. It was a pretty quick process after those doors swung close behind me.
The nurse started my IV with apparently enough Benadryl to kill an elephant. Wow! It was night-night time for me. As my eyes closed, all I could think of was for the itching to be gone. It was indeed a sweet release.
A few moments later, the itching had stopped, but the welts were still there, holding firm. But they didn’t stay around long!
I found out I was allergic to Macrobid (nitrofurantoin), an antibiotic. Did you know you can get hives from an allergic reaction to medicine even two weeks after taking it? I didn’t.
Living with scleroderma, one finds so many ways to soothe the skin while having hive flares. But I’ll admit, itching is one of the worst symptoms I experience.
Here is another awesome tip: Do not do the itchy dance with baking soda paste. It will be messy when you clean it up!
Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.