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Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Posted by Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 12:36 (150960)

Anybody here ever have hives?? I have hives in spades on my face and neck and to quote Cosmo Kramer who quoted The Elephant Man: Look Away! I'm Hideous!

If it ain't one thing; it's another. Hives. Like I didn't have enough going on. One of my eyes is all swollen up and the rest of my head looks like an eggplant with radiation poisoning or a tomato with hair or...never mind, you get the idea. My husband tells me I'm still beautiful so now I know he's been lying all these years!!

I always thought hives were minor and from stress. What I'm now told is they can be serious/fatal if tongue/throat are involved, breathing is difficult and can stop. The way I look and feel, stopping breathing is Plan B!! I HATE to go to doctors but I went; Dr. gave RX for oral steroids (methylprednisone). I do NOT want to take this and have not yet. Maybe if I thought I wanted to do shot put for the old Soviet Union Olympic team or wrestle as Svetlana the Red or something - but I don't. This stuff has VERY nasty side affects listed and it doesn't sound like they are all that uncommon.

So - anybody in Foot Land - Hives??? Steroids??? Hello?? Any help??

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Kathy G on 5/21/04 at 13:36 (150965)


Okay, now everyone on the Board is going to moan and say, 'She has this, too?' But yup, I get hives. I first got them when I was eleven years old and they didn't know what caused them then and they still don't know. They're not food related and the time of year doesn't matter. I'm very lucky; I get giant hives, a class which means they're huge but I only get three or four at once and I only get them over a period of a few days. They're obviously linked to one of my million allergies. No doubt, yours are caused by an unknown allergen.

In my case, I don't go to a doctor any more for them because I know what kind of course they're going to run and I'm already on an anthistamine year round. In your case, you shouldn't fool around. A severe case of the hives can be very serious and it is not that uncommon to get them in your throat. While the side effects of prednisone can be lousy, you probably won't have to be on it that long and it's really the best short-term treatment for an allergic reaction. And some people don't have any side effects. Years ago when my allergies were so bad and there weren't as many effective drugs on the market, I had no problem with short-term use of prednisone. Some people get very hyper from it but I didn't which is strange, given that I'm an insomniac and hyper by nature.

As much as you hate the idea, I think you should take it. You shouldn't fool around with a bad case of hives. You could end up in the hospital if they continue to get worse and you'd hate that more than taking a drug. And don't forget, they tell you every single side effect you can get from a medication. That doesn't mean that you'll develop any of them. The law just says they have to list every single side effect, even if only one person has experienced it.

Good luck and I hope you get some relief and your natural good looks back!;)

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 15:23 (150978)

Kathy ~ Your posts are always very informative and helpful! I appreciate your taking the time to tell me these things and I am taking them to heart. I will probably read and re-read them today - and maybe tomorrow; I am still in a wait and see attitude, but this is not getting better (yet) and I am a bit worried about it. I keep going to a mirror thinking that anytime now it will be revealed that it was a bad dream, but the mirror always reflects this 'new look', my Tomato Woman look.
I do very much appreciate your comments about prednisone - very reassuring - and wise. So, thank you; I know you know what you are talking about and I am taking your comments seriously.
Excuse me now; I have to put my veil on and return to my cave!
Later ~

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Pauline on 5/21/04 at 16:06 (150982)

Interestingly enough my Internist will try giving a patient two over the counter products first depending on how severe the hive case is.
1. A non drowsy antihistine like Claritin along with Zantac.

These drugs work together to stop the reaction because they are H1 and H2 Histamine antoagonists.

I was told to use both of these drugs when I got hives from taking Cipro.

If your case is bad enough which it sounds like it is a RX for a steroid dose pack is sometimes given. My husband used three packs before he saw any relief from his case of hives.

When I had a very severe case from using Tetracyclines which did include some internal swelling I was given steroid injections immediately along with Dexamethazone tablets to take at bedtime.

Follow orders on this one Dorothy. People react differently and you want to make sure your allergic reaction is definitely under control. We need you around here.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Richard, C.Ped on 5/21/04 at 16:14 (150983)

I have had them once or twice. Benadryl worked for me. It made me very sleepy though.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Pauline on 5/21/04 at 16:34 (150984)

I think they now have a non-drowsy formula. My experience with allergic reactions and treatment seems to depend on the severity of the reaction. Some can be life threatening so OTC drugs like Benadryl work tooooo slowly. Faster acting treatment is necessary like the time I needed steroid injections. The membranes in my nose closed from swelling and my throat was well on its way because my tongue was also swelling. The injections into an IV worked rapidly.

Dorothy's doctor may be worried about this type of a reaction because her hives are on her head.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

marie on 5/21/04 at 16:46 (150985)

Be careful not to get hot and sweaty. Also don't wear red cloths. There is something in red dye that makes hives get worse.


Re: I don't have any solution, but....

Carole C in NOLA on 5/21/04 at 18:01 (150991)

Dorothy, I don't have any solution, but I wanted to offer my condolences!

The only time I had a bad case of hives, was when I had to fly to Hawaii to visit my mother right after 9/11. I got a terrible case of hives (from fear) that went away soon after arriving. So, I can sympathize but I have no idea how to treat them.

I hope they go away soon!

Carole C

Re: I don't have any solution, but....

Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 18:26 (150992)

Thank you, Carole. Me, too!

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 18:30 (150993)

Everything is hot and sweaty today!! Heat makes everything feel worse. I won't wear red clothes but even if I don't, I will LOOK like I'm wearing red clothes - on my head! :-) Thanks, Marie.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 18:36 (150994)

Pauline ~ Thank you for all your helpful information. Yes, the doctor did give a bunch of samples of Clarinex which I am supposed to take as well as the methylprednisone (generic for Medrol). I took the Clarinex but not yet the prednisone. I have been reading about hives/urticaria, both acute and chronic today and other things that it can be and getting myself all worked into a tizzy. Red, swollen, itchy - and now teary, scared and anxious. I've got ALL of the dwarves!! I am going to try just to calm down and think clearly (since I can't see clearly!) -
Thank you again, Pauline. (You've had quite a few hairy experiences with hives, haven't you?!? )

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Dorothy on 5/21/04 at 18:39 (150995)

Thank you, Richard. As anxious as I am getting about this, something sedating sounds good about now! I know Benedryl is often used, but I think the Clarinex she gave me has the same affect without the drowsiness. So far it hasn't seemed to make any difference. But thank you again.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Pauline on 5/21/04 at 19:02 (150996)

I'm certain your anxiety by now is over the top. Anyone that knows me will tell you I'm afraid of medications. I'm the last person in line for pills and I put off taking them as long as possible even after surgery unless I'm out of it and they are pumping pain meds into me as I sleep.

I can imagine you reading all the inserts that came with your RX and looking it up on the internet until as you say 'you're in a tizzy', but honestly I think Steroids do get a bad rap as do other medications. They can be lifesavers and in your case I'd bite the bullet and take the medication.

Somehow it's always easier to think of the negatives rather than the positives. If you take the RX you could feel and look better by morning and be on the road to wellness. If you take the meds and develop a bad reaction you can always go to the ER. I think either way you win because right now you are probably not in a life threatening situation, but if your hives continue to get worse the stakes are raised and the game changes.

The bottom line is 'it's your call'. I hope you feel better soon.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

john h on 5/21/04 at 19:15 (150998)

Dorothy: I recently got mixed up with some poison ivy. I used some Caladryl Clear which is available at most drug store for about $5. It is no cure but sure help with the symptoms. I think it is recommended for hives also.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

wendyn on 5/21/04 at 20:14 (151000)

Dorothy, my son had them (very bad) from an antibiotic reaction. They couldn't give him steroids because he also had an ear infection. Eventually, they were brought under control with anti-histamine (something stronger than Benadryl..but I can't rememember what)

What are your hives from!?!!!!

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Diana on 5/21/04 at 20:58 (151001)

Dorothy, I usually am just a 'lurker' on this site, but your problem with hives struck a sensitive spot with me. I developed a very bad case after I had surgery on a disk in my neck. I found that I had an allergic reaction to the medicine I was taking - Soma and Davorcet. I had previously taken Davorcet and had no trouble, but the combining of the two created a reaction. I found this out by reading my prescription drug book. The Dr. was having me take Allegra, an allergy medication, thinking this would take care of the problem, but it didn't faze those darn hives. They were from the top of my head clear down to my legs. The bumps eventually looked like a blood poisoning in my legs, long streaks. When I told her about the reading of the reaction with Soma and Davorcet they put me on predisone and Doxepin (for the itching) and of course I quit taking the other medicine. The Doxepin knocked me out like a light (I was grateful) and as each day went by, the hives faded away, but not before they had reached my feet. Now my feet were not only sensitive, but itchy! Anyway, they finally went away - I didn't take the prednisone too long, but had to work my way off of it gradually. Take your medicine, don't worry. Those nasty hives are not fun!! Diana

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Suzanne D. on 5/21/04 at 21:14 (151002)

Dorothy, I'm so sorry. It's very unpleasant to have both physical and mental discomfort as you worry about what to take to control your hives. I haven't had that experience, but I did have a wasp sting on my lip a couple of years ago which swelled to a scary proportion (I did not realize my lips could stretch that far!). I looked like a monster and felt hideous. At the emergency room I was given a shot and then steroids to take. I was thankful for them at the time and had no ill side effects.

My husband and older daughter both have had many respiratory infections as well as allergic reactions to antibiotics, and sometimes prednisone has been needed to help in their treatment. My daughter took them when I was cutting the little pills in half due to her age and size. It scared me at the time, but pneumonia scared me more so. Neither she nor my husband suffered any bad side effects.

I give you our experiences just as more food for thought but want to sincerely wish you a speedy recovery from this. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you, Dorothy!

Suzanne :)

Re: P.S.

Suzanne D. on 5/21/04 at 21:30 (151004)

I also had an experience a couple of summers ago with poison ivy on my big toe. I used the Caladryl Clear lotion that John wrote about and ended up with an allergic reaction to it. I had thought it was poison ivy to start with, but after it got so much worse, I went to Acute Care over the weekend and was told it was a spider bite and given an antibiotic ointment and pills. It continued to worsen, and I saw my family dr. the following Monday who told me I originally had poison ivy, but, for me, the Caladryl worked like pouring gasoline on a fire. He prescribed an ointment for poision ivy and prednisone, and I cleared up quickly.

Just my experience...
Suzanne :)

Re: Another PS

wendyn on 5/21/04 at 22:42 (151006)

My mom was actually on prednisone a few months ago. They think she had a very bad inflammatory reaction to some vitamin e cream (I think it was a concentrated kind). Prednisone scares me too, but she did fine - and she was quite grateful for it (thought she would lose her mind from the itching and pain)

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/22/04 at 02:13 (151015)

Hives are caused by an allergic reaction to something. If they are persistent or recurrrent, trying to find the instigating factor is valuable. A 'quick fix' can be a Medrol dosepack ( a steroid).

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

marie on 5/22/04 at 09:24 (151025)

I hope you are feeling better today.

My youngest son breaks out in hives because he is alergic to something in Amoxicillin and Seclor. Not sure if its the penicillin or some other ingredent in the medication. Anyhoooo....he cannot take penicillin and must take sulfer types of medications. I found that he becomes hyper sensitive to all of the current soaps we have in the house when he gets hives. I wash all his cloths, sheets and towels in a different laundry detergent. The doc told us not to let him wear red clothing because he would be hyper sensitive to the dye. I had to leave early for work one day and my hubby was in charge of getting the boys ready for school. When Michael got home he could barely walk...he had participated in gym and his feet were sweaty and he had a long sleeve red turtle neck on. The entire surface of his feet and body were one giant hive. Poor kid.

My oldest son had an outbreak of poison ivy the day we left for vacation. I put a little calamine lotion on it and off we went. By the time we hit West Virginia he was covered in poison ivy and had to stop at an emergency room there. They gave him a cortezone shot and told me to continue to dab on the calmine lotion. We spent a few days at my parents in NC. He was covered in it and I continued to put on the calmine lotion. The day before we left for Hilton Head I took him to an urgent care clinic and he got another shot of cortezone. The doc said it wasn't poison ivy....it was hives. He had an alergic reaction to the CALAMINE LOTION. Here I had been coating the kid in it. Doc said the salt water would help and no more calamine lotion.

You may want to try soaking epson salt in the tub.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

wendyn on 5/22/04 at 12:43 (151034)

Marie, I believe that Ceclor is a cousin of penicillin (I think ceclor is a cephlasporin - sp?). Some people who cannot take one cannot take the other, but some people can take one and not the other.

My son has a penicillin and sulpha allergy. Since his pencillin reaction was so severe, they will not try him on cephlasporins.

I have to know far too much about antibiotics.

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Becky W on 12/12/05 at 14:50 (189519)


Did you ever find out what was causing your hives. I am going through hell right now and every time I go to the doctors they try something new. A few weeks ago I was on a 9 day dose of Predisone and it did take the hives away almost immediately. The down side which I didn't know until the last visit to the doctors is that if the hives come back it they might be a lot worse and they were. I am at my wits end and missing alot of work because I don't want anyone to see my face. HELP!

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Dorothy on 12/12/05 at 15:38 (189523)

Becky W - Oh, my goodness, you do have my sympathy! I am so sorry this is happening to you and believe me, I do understand how awful it is. I do wish I could tell you that I found out definitively what caused them, but I didn't. You probably know all of the possible contributors already and I had almost ALL of them at that time. Mine occurred around strawberry season and I had eaten A LOT of strawberries so I thought that might have been the cause, but I have very cautiously tried strawberries since then with no bad outcome. There was very high heat, very high stress, long exposure to hot sun, some new skin products w/new ingredients, and a long list of other seemingly benign possibilities and others that were not so benign - but nothing was pinpointed. It might have even been an unhappy combination of lots of factors - or it might have been just a period of bad fate! I wish I could help because I know how desperate those hives can make you feel. I know that lots of people take Prednisone w/no negative result, but I did not like it at all and hope not to feel that I have to take it again. I don't know it if helped me or not; it didn't immediately, that I do remember, and after awhile - felt like a long time - the hives went away. I had never had them before and not again so far, but who knows..... You have my sincere hopes for the speedy banishment of the hives from your life!! If I remember anything useful or come across anything in the materials I collected at the time, I will post them. Best wishes -

Re: Dorothy Seeks Advice Please....

Ralph on 12/12/05 at 17:43 (189532)

I got hives from Imodium. I took it the day before my wife and I left for a trip out west. When our plane landed in Arizona I was covered with very large hives.

We went directly to the closest E.R. and they gave me a shot of Benadryl and told me to purchase more and continue taking it. It really didn't budge my hives although some of the itching went down. To make a long story short I visited an E.R. in every city we visited including the Medical Center at the Grand Canyon. We took a picture with the Doctor there.

Dispite what was given to me on the trip, I continued to have hives break out even after we returned home from our 15 day trip.

I had a steroid injection, Benadryl, and went through 3 dose packs, one on the trip and 2 at home before they finally stopped.

The doctor said I was very lucky. Allergy reactions can be very serious.
The doctor at the Grand Canyon Medical Center was the most concerned because by then I'd had them for over a week. I was embarraced to eat out because people kept looking at the large red marks on my face and arms.
They probably thought I was contagious.