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By Kayla (Chronic Hive Sufferer)
Can you imagine living with a debilitating disease that can strike at any moment for no reason, leaving you covered in itchy, painful hives, welts, and swelling so serious that it forces you to go to the hospital? This is what I have lived with every day of my life since the age of 6 – I live with CIU, also known as Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. This disease has caused me emotional and physical pain, forced me to drop out of university, and causes me to always be fatigued.
Living with CIU, I always have to plan my life around my disease and I must always be prepared for the worst. It is difficult to live day to day with CIU because I cannot prevent the disfiguring reaction from occurring, because it is not an allergic reaction which is usually what happens when hives are present on the skin. I can only take steps to eliminate triggers that make my hives worse
Personally, I eat a very clean diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and try and keep as active as my hives will permit me. I try to avoid certain foods such as strawberries, large amounts of citrus, gluten, dairy and nut products. Stress and heat are large factors in my reactions as well, so I try to limit my exposure to the sun or at least take breaks in air conditioned rooms in between sun exposure, while of course wearing LOTS of sunscreen. Dealing with a sunburn while having an outbreak is unbearable, very dangerous and required me to be hospitalized in the past.
Stress is very hard to avoid, it is a vicious cycle in the life of a CIU patient. The hives cause me to miss work or school, make relationships difficult, and isolate me, causing MORE stress which makes the hives worse. I try my best to take 5 minutes each day to do some deep breathing to calm my nerves. I also find yoga really helpful because it is physical activity and it is great for the soul, body, and mind.
CIU can really affect a patient emotionally and make them feel isolated, so if you are a patient, I encourage you to be proactive and get in touch with other patients, seek medical advice and psychological help, as it has helped me a significant amount.
Relief for Chronic Hives
ILW Recommends: For chronic itchy skin and hives, think about healing from within starting with an elimination diet to determine if food is triggering a reaction.
For quick relief, try this aloe spray which will soothe the itch and the need to scratch.
You can also try at home acupressure – there are some points on the body that can provide wonderful itch relief and fast!