Chronic Urticaria

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Hello all, I am just wondering if anyone else suffering from Chronic Urticaria has any tattoos? I've noticed that when I have breakouts thay are particularly bad, my tattoos are hives if that makes sense. The lettering and lines become extremely swollen and then the rest of my body breaks out in hives. This doesn't happen all the time, but I'm just wondering if anyone else experienced the same. There is one tattoo in particular on my foot that has a small amount of red ink, my only coloured tattoo and I'm horribly allergic to the red ink. This tattoo has bothered me for almost 4 years, and when I developed chronic urticaria, it became even more itchy and swollen. It comes and goes, and when I take my medication (300 mg Randitidine twice a day, 10 mg Montelukast once a day) it calms down and doesn't bother me at all. My tattoos have always become a little raised on particularly humid days, which is common, but before I was diagnosed with Chronic Urticaria and

my tattoos started swelling when I had hives, I became concerned. My medication usually prevents any hives or swelling of my tattoos, lips, hands or eyes, but it makes me hesitant to continue getting tattoos although I'd like to out of fear that I'll have a horrible break out during or right after I've been tattooed.

I'm so frustrated with this. I wish I had have led less stressful life, or I could know what

triggered this, and I wish I could find a permanent solution to this, as I'm sure we all do. Nobody understands when I say no, I can't drink because I'll break out in hives. No, can't go out today or work out because it's too humid, and I'll get hives. I can't even wear my rings half of the time because anything tight around my skin causes hives. Break outs in public are the absolute worst, people look at me with disgust because they don't understand. I'm so tired of this. I'm a 20 year old woman and I'm afraid to go out and have a good time becAuse of this rash. I hate taking pills, I hate stressing out because I can't remember whether I took them or not. I've always been healthy and active, and now I can't be. chronic urticaria is ruining my life and I'm beginning to lose faith that it will ever go away

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Have a look at allergyuk.org 

    some urticaria is caused by allergies. You believe that you are allergic to the red pigment in one of your tattoos, I would not want to risk having further tattoos. The skin has a complex immune system and it is difficult to work out all of the possible interactions.

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  • Posted

    Hi Marysa

    I am so sorry for you and I know exactly how you are feeling because I was in that place around Christmas time. I cannot wear my wedding ring and engagement ring, I cannot wear a watch or my pretty bracelets.  Necklaces were out of the question but I can wear a plain smooth chain now.  When my urticaria was at its worst I didn't know what to eat and I didn't have alcohol for a year, I've just started having a beer occasionally without any reaction. I have tatoos but haven't had your problem, I do keep them well moisturised, and yes heat does irritate any rashes but I think your anxiety, stress and what sounds like depression to me is what is making your hives worse.  Do you live in the UK?  If you do try to get an appointment with Dr Sabroe, Dermatology Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital she is the UK's expert on Urticaria.  Other specialists know a bit but she specialises in our problem.  I asked for an antidepressant and was given Doxepin because it has a built in antihistamine.  It worked very quickly to bring me back to myself and I didn't have the side effects some people have on this medication.  Dr Sabroe told me she was ok with me taking up to three antihistamines a day if my hives were playing up, so I carry some with me when I'm out of the house.

    People have different triggers, mine are chaffing from what I wear like rings but also rough seams of clothing. Foods with high histamine, itching a scratch (a big no no!), illness (hives started after I had been ill both times), anxiety/stress.  Your triggers may be different but having another tatoo is very risky I think for you. 

    I was lucky in that I only got minor outbreaks of hives around my face mostly mast lumps on my temples, behind my ears, on my neck and in my scalp (because I scratched my head!!), so not so noticable as yours. My worst was behind my knees because chair seats chaffed there when I was sitting, along my arms and legs where seams from clothing chaffed, around my belly and tops of legs where waistbands rubbed etc. and under my breasts from my bra.  I still have problems with this and I have alot of coloured patterned tops that I can wear without a bra without it being very obvious.  Sometimes, when my hives was real bad I was sat relaxing and out of nowhere I had hives forming and I HADN'T DONE ANYTHING!!  So yes I know how you are feeling but I am over 60yrs and you need to have more help as you are so young and you shouldn't be feeling like you are.

    Good Luck

    Lorraine

     

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    • Posted

      My hives started after I got over strep throat, they didn't start right away, but last October, I woke in the middle of the night with horrible pains in my chest, it was the worst pain I had ever felt and I had a panic attack because I needed to go to the hospital and couldn't get my boyfriend to wake up. Once I finally got to the hospital, they discovered it was only severe heartburn but it had scared me so badly that I had really bad anxiety. A few days later, the urticaria started and hasn't stopped since. While I don't think my tattoos are the cause, it seems to attack them for some reason. I've had all of my tattoos for over 2 years and not all of them are effected, I just found it strange that they also swell sometimes. I'm thankful to have found a medication that helps right now, however I feel I'm just treating the symptoms of a larger problem. To give some background, I work in a call centre, which is a very stressful and warm environment. I think that this, mixed with my illness and panic attacks back in October is what brought this on, and while my boyfriend is supportive and understanding in all of this, same with my family, I can't help but feel helpless and alone. Anti-histamines don't work for me anymore, when this first started, they helped a little but since then I've been perscribed many, along with steroids, that only work temporarily or not at all.

      I too break out in hives even when I've done nothing but relax all day. I keep a bottle of calamine lotion in my purse to soothe any hives I may get, and it's comforting to know I'm not alone. I don't like in the UK, I live in Canada and I don't know of any urticaria specialists around here, or how I would even go about seeing one. I would do anything to find a cure for this, I'm getting so frustrated. I have always been confident and very happy with my appearance, since developig this I have gained weight and don't feel as good about myself as I used to. It's just very hard. I missed a lot of time at work when I couldn't control my urticaria, all of which was held against me, although I had doctors notes, our attendance policy is garbage. It's annoying because my bosses at work knew my situation, sent me home because of how badly I'd be broken out, my lips would be so swollen I could barely talk, and it's my job to talk, and they almost fired me over it. Again, more stress I didn't need..

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    • Posted

      Hi Marysa

      Water saturated with salt and dabbed onto itchy areas left to dry works very well better than calomine lotion. I googled and found that there is a man called Dr G Sussman in Toronto who specialises in Chronic Spontaneous (Idiopathic) Urticaria its on the Allergic Living Canada Site but how to get hold of him I can't help with but your own doctor might.

      Also google foods with histamine for a list of things you could try eliminating like I did or reducing.  It limits alot of what we would normally ear including quite alot of your 5 a day unfortunately some fruit.  Beans, pulses, nuts smoked meats and fish, processed foods, alcohol, chocolate (!!), cheese (soft cheese ok), black and green tea are some but there are more have all got high histamines.  When I took all these out of my diet I lost 8lb, a good thing because I was overweight a bit and I felt better for losing it.  I can introduce some of these things back carefully now.

      Its a shame about your work, I was fortunate that my hives, although uncomfortable avoided my face or I would have to have had time off work.

      Lorraine

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  • Posted

    The streptococcal sore throat may have been the precipitating cause of your urticaria,i if so it may well fade away over time but this would be 2 or 3 years.

    do take care with your nutrition. You need to stick with the 5 a day rule as a minimum, this will help your body heal.

    out of interest I read more about tattoos, there is a really excellent site dermnet.nz that gives details of reactions to tattoos and lists the pigments. A Mercury salt called cinnabar is still used for red pigments in some tattoos. The dose must be tiny but it is surprising. Canada may have rules that bar this pigment?

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    • Posted

      I do hope it fades away, currently I'm working on a low-histamine diet to see if that helps at all. What do you mean by the 5 a day minimum?

      And I'm not sure on the rules around the pigment, however the reaction I've had has been extremely annoying and I've considered having the tattoo removed because it gets so bad, but it's on my foot and getting it was painful enough, I can't imagine the removal process rolleyes

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    • Posted

      Marysa

      I think Norman means a mixture of fruit and veg is important in a good diet.  I responded to you a few minutes ago about diet so before you include more fruit and veg in your diet check on the levels of histamine.  I know green leafy veg ok (not spinach), cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, squash, brocoli, lettuce, leeks, onions but not raw have to be well cooked.  Avoid spicy foods, burgers, sausages. Fresh fish and meat ok, not process and not smoked. Apples, bananas, melon, pears are ok.  Citrus fruits are not, also strawberries - be cautious with raspberries and blueberries, tomatoes are out. Nothing with vinegar.  If you actually look at what is left, its a very healthy diet.

      Don't have your tatoo removed until hives gone.  Just before I had my second bout of Urticaria I had carpel tunnel surgery and I am not sure but it might also have been a trigger.

      Lorraine

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  • Posted

    Letting people understand is not your responsibility. Avoid any and every trigger that causes hives or allergy. Allergies generally take place after an interval of a year. In my opinion, since the chemicals used in tattoo pigments are highly allergic in nature, it would be better that you avoid tattooing. Use soft body soap, preferably a liquid one. Wear light and loose cotton clothes. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Consult an immunologist if the condition persists. 
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  • Edited

    Im 32 years old now, i had my tattoo around 4 or 5 yrs ago, i had an allergic reaction whenever I eat chicken, lamb or any other processed food but its very less to get, i even get allergic whenever i do threading on my face, i try to control it by taking anti histamine pills then this year, i had a worst break out, i start to consult with Dermatologist and diagnosed for chronic spontaneous urticaria, as you said you had a swelling on your tattoo, i had mine too... I will particularly have itchiness on my tattoos whenever i have a break out, now i couldn't even have a peaceful night for sleep, i will have hives all over my body, under my lips, foot and even scalp.. My legs will be swelled until i need to support on something to walk but it will last for a night and the next day, it will gone, its affecting my mental health, i couldn't focus on work, i had to take too many leaves due to this, i've noticed that it became worst when in humid temperature, its not only you, here i am who is suffering the same thing

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  • Posted

    Tattoos are likely to swell when having hives. Hives are itchy but get worse as we itch them. The best thing to do is use cold water to stop itching and wait for them to go away.

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