In December 2019, Dexter had an outbreak of hives. He’d never had hives before and had never shown any signs of allergies in the past. For the following seven months, we struggled with near enough daily outbreaks of itchy, sore-looking hives. This is the story of how we dealt with the itchy welts and our recent experience with yet another breakout after months of inactivity.
What are hives?
Hives are itchy bumps that appear on the skin, usually as a response of coming into contact with an allergen. Also known as urticaria, hives can be unpleasantly itchy for the recipient and can look very unsightly. They can appear anywhere on the body, but for Dexter they were usually found on the face, arms, torso and legs.
What causes hives?
There are multiple allergens that can cause hives, which is why it’s super hard at first to try to understand what it could be that’s causing them. Allergens include:
- foods, especially shellfish, nuts, milk, gluten, egg and fruit
- medicines or vaccinations
- pets and other animals
- insect bites and stings
There are also multiple other things that can cause hives, that are not related to allergens including:
- infections, including viruses (studies have shown that children that have had coronavirus can get post-viral hives)
- anxiety or stress
- sun exposure
- exposure to cold
What caused Dexter’s hives?
We’re still not really sure what caused Dexter’s hives. They would appear very suddenly after eating breakfast each morning so at first we put them down to a food allergy, however, no matter what food we tried him with, they would still appear.
To begin with, the hives would disappear after a spoonful of Piriton, but after a while, this method of treating them seemed to stop working.
The hives would also appear very quickly after being out in the cold and would be most prominent on areas of his body that had been exposed to the cold air, such as face, legs and arms. This was all happening during lockdown, so staying in even more than we already were, wasn’t really an option.
We tried cutting out gluten, eggs, dairy…everything we could think of, but the hives would return nearly every single day.
It’s possible that the hives could have been a result of a viral infection, but I guess now we will never know. Seven months after they abruptly started, one day they went away and never came back.
How did we treat Dexter’s hives?
At first, as I previously mentioned, we used Piriton whenever the hives reared their ugly heads, but eventually this method stopped being effective.
As we were in the middle of the pandemic, it was difficult to get in to see a doctor and get an allergy test so we ended up with a telephone appointment.
Luckily, our doctor knows us really well and was happy to prescribe cetirizine over the phone which worked wonders. We gave a dose in the morning before breakfast and another dose in the afternoon and this prevented the hives from appearing at all.
This was meant to be a short term solution while we waited for a referral to paediatrics to get a proper allergy test, but before the pandemic was over, the hives had totally cleared up.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
As I said, during the time this was all going on, we were in the middle of a pandemic meaning it was difficult getting to see a specialist to find out if it was allergies causing the problems.
If I had known about Klarify’s home testing allergy kit, I would have gotten hold of this to put our minds at ease and help ease Dexter’s itchy skin.
How does Klarify’s Home Allergy Test work?
Klarify send the allergy test out to you to use in the comfort of your own home. You simply take a small blood sample and pop it back in the post to them. This sample of tested for over 290 different allergens in a lab and within two weeks tour results are sent back to you.
Concerned you may be allergic to pets, mites, dust or a specific food type? Klarify’s home testing kit will let you know exactly what you’re allergic to, so you can take steps to avoid these specific allergens.
Dexter’s most recent breakout
After nearly a year of inactivity, Dexter had a breakout in May of this year. This time though, it was a little different.
Unlike previous times, neither Piriton nor cetirizine would touch the hives and they didn’t come and go like they had done before. These welts were persisting and lasted over two weeks.
After two telephone consultations and a face to face with the doctor, we were referred to paediatrics for an assessment in August.
Since then, the welts have disappeared and haven’t made a reappearance. We are wondering if this was a case of polymorphic light eruption as the rash appeared after one of the first sunny days of the year after we had spent a few hours at the beach.
Find out more about allergy testing
If you, or someone in your family is suffering with an allergic reaction, including hives, you can find out more about allergy testing on Klarify’s website. You can also order their home allergy testing kits to put your mind at ease.
After having a weird rash outbreak on my thigh only this last month, I reckon it’s worth me giving it a try too! Always interesting to see what your body is allergic to so you can make positive lifestyle changes!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Klarify, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.