I am assuming what I have is cholinergic urticaria or something similar. But its root causes may be a result of immune system problems which go further back. Many of the symptoms and remedies described by others on this forum mimic what I have encountered. Hopefully my experiences may provide information or help to others.
When I was 12, in 1971, I broke out in a bad rash that covered my back in the spring, and I was taken to Walter Reed Army hospital, had a biopsy done, and told I had atopic dermatatis ( I later found out this generic term is another name for eczema). I was given some heavy creme’s to apply and told to keep it covered. I eventually got better. But whenever I sweated or got very hot, I would often get some sort of bad rash, and would wear a shirt to cover it.
In my last year of college I developed an allergy to ragweed or pollen, in the fall which lasted several weeks. My eyes and nose watered constantly and I took every allergy medication available at the time to reduce the symptoms. I was later diagnosed as having an allergy to some weeds and grasses. In 1990, while sodding my lawn in Northern Florida, I was attacked by a swarm of fire ants. Experiencing a burning and tingling, somehow I had the sense to take several benedryl, before I collapsed from anaphylactic shock.
I was later told that alone had saved my life. Since then I have been on immunotherapy shots for fire ants and weeds and grasses, and carry an epi-pen. An epi-pen, for those not familiar, is a shot of pure adrenaline, used to counter the body’s over stimulation of histamine cased by exposure to something your body is over reacting to, which then causes one to go into anaphylactic shock, and potentially die.
Other than the occasional rash, I really had no other symptoms for years. Then in 2016, while on a trip to Germany during a rather hot summer, I began sweating profusely at night and began to get a bad skin rash which caused me to start scratching profusely. No cream or other treatment seemed to decrease the symptoms.
Scratching my eyes and face constantly, my skin started to swell and redden. We cut our trip short, and I returned to the US. The flight home with no humidity made things worse, and by the time we landed, one eye was swollen shut, and the other I could barely see out of. My face and neck were bleeding from all the scratching.
I tried to cover my neck and face, and wore a ball cap and sunglasses to hide my eyes and face for fear I wouldn’t be allowed back into the US. The customs agent looked away as I walked past, just waving me on. I went to the nearest hospital emergency room. I was put on an IV with steroids,and given Allegra, famotidine ( Pepcid), prednisone, and some aquaphor to put on the skin. While recovering, I visited an allergy doctor, and a dermatologist for more recommendations and information. The Allergy doctor, in addition to more steroids, prescribed a tub of Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream to put on the rash.
I was informed that people who have allergic reactions likely have a compromised immune system, and will be more susceptible to additional allergies and sensitivities to substances. As you get older this worsens. The challenge is identifying the conditions and activities that cause those reactions, to minimize them, as well as identifying those things that can be done to strengthen the immune system. And finally when one does experience a reaction , what to do in trying to minimize the severity and length of the attack.
In my lifetime I have seen over 10 dermatologists and 5 allergists. I have been diagnosed with eczema, dermatitis, urticaria, dry skin, just about everything but leprosy. Tried everything from tar soap to Eucerin, and every specialty soap out there. I travel a lot and this makes things worse as airplanes have no humidity at altitude, as well as going through extreme climate changes often in several days particularly over the winter.
Worse things are hotel soaps, hot showers and hard towel drying. Always take cool showers , even when cool out side, pat dry. Dove or Cetaphil soap. I think being fatigued and drinking alcohol weakens the immune system and makes things much worse. Not getting enough sleep for several days also seems to weaken the immune system and may also trigger things.
I also believe there is also a food component, although I haven’t narrowed it down, yet. I do believe tomatoes and heavily acidic foods cause stomach problems and may also trigger things. Likewise I think sweets may make things worse.
When I travel I carry Allegra, a topical cortisone cream, an antacid, and usually some prednisione, my own soap and a bit of aquaphor or something similar. I would love to see if we could get a forum test group together where we narrow down the commonalities in symptoms, foods, activities, treatments and results.
Best of luck,