As a young man working at a fast paced restaurant, when the lunch rush hit, naturally my body temperature would rise as the pressure mounted. Last November, however, something changed. It began with an intense itch on the top of my head as we started getting busy. I attributed this to the fact that I was growing out my hair and wearing a hat, and simply tried to ignore the itch. That itch on my head, however, slowly began turning into an itch on my stomach and arms as well. A few weeks later, I noticed red bumps appearing as I began to get hot. They were accompanied by and intense itch, one that I had never experienced before.
In the coming months, it only became worse. Beyond work, I was experiencing this intense itch accompanied by a hives outbreak on my stomach, chest, back, arms, and occasionally my legs anytime that my body temperature was raised. I tried to get back into running again (after taking a break since October) and couldn’t because it was absolutely miserable for my skin! All of a sudden, I had to be careful cooking, working on my car, being out in the sun too long, or doing any sort of strenuous labor. In short, it began to penetrate most areas of my life, and so I decided to do some research online to see if I could figure out why my skin was doing what it was doing.
That is what led me here. For the last few months, I’ve studied this site and have come to the conclusion that cholinergic urticaria is almost certainly what I am experiencing. Coming to this reality has been a challenge, however, I have a lot of hope that everything will be okay. My faith in Jesus has been a huge help. My community has also been a great support as I process this issue. I am also super encouraged by this website and by Ben (Hivesguy) for making such an effort to help people who struggle with what we do.
As I said, I have not given up hope. Staying calm, especially during an outbreak, has been a big help. What a blessing that within 30-60 seconds of cooling down my skin, the itch substantially subsides! In addition to trying to stay calm and regulate my body temperature while working/working out/whatever it may be, I also began Oxyhives about a week and a half ago. I am noticing a slight reduction in my outbreaks, and that is encouraging. I am told that Oxyhives can take up to a month before it really starts working, so I am continuing to use it. I really appreciate that it’s homeopathic and natural, and don’t really want to use antihistamines if I don’t have to.
Within the past few days specifically, I’ve experienced a major breakthrough… something so simple… a water spray bottle! Yesterday, I brought a spray bottle with me as I was changing a few of the tires on my car. The sun was shining down on me, and normally within five minutes I’d have a rash and be itchy all over, but I found that If I sprayed myself with water on my stomach, chest, back, and anywhere else that itched, I didn’t break out, and even more importantly, no terrible itch! I tried this again today while chopping wood and stacking it (something that has been miserable to do before) and my itching and hives were drastically less and far more tolerable. And guess what? I’ve even been able to go on a run the past few nights! Before, the itch and hives I would rank a 9/10 while running. These past few nights, with spray bottle in hand, I would say the itch and hives has gone done to about 3/10. Exciting stuff!
So, I am accepting this reality that is cholinergic urticaria. But I am not going to give up hope that there are things that can help me fight it. If you are struggling with this issue, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Utilize this forum. Keep asking questions. Keep trying different things. Let the people in your life help you. Eventually, you’ll find a way to overcome this. This may sound over-dramatic, but if you’ve struggled with this, you know my words are not over-the-top. Lets fight this together!