For a few years now I have been getting outbreaks of hives. The consistent factor in the past has been a night of heavy alcohol consumption. If I went out drinking a significant amount, the next day I would break out in hives and red rash.
I saw an allergist a couple of years back about this reaction. I was tested for food allergy to pretty much every basic food ingredient in alcohol (corn, potato, wheat, grape, etc.) and had no reaction to any of these. He advised that I take an antihistamine before a drinking session to reduce the effects. That worked okay - not always perfectly, but it seemed to help.
Lately however the hive outbreaks have increased in frequency to almost every day, regardless of drinking any alcohol or not. I can go over a week without any alcohol and I still get hives every day. They vary in intensity and body location as well as time of the day.
This has been happening since New Year's Eve (end of 2012, beginning of 2013). That night I did go out drinking and the following day I got a hive outbreak. But since then they are coming back almost daily.
I recently went to another allergist and got some blood tests done. I found out I have the following environmental allergies: rye grass pollen, dust mite, cat, moutain ceder, bermuda grass, johnson grass, alternaria, olive pollen, cottonwood, acacia, oak, elm, pigweed, ragweed, mugwort, russian thistle, dog.
They also found the presence of the Epstein Barr Virus. I'm wondering if this is related to the hives. I am doubtful that environmental allergies are related.
Later last year I did a week long cleanse diet consuming only water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. I got hive outbreaks every day during this cleanse leading me to believe that even a food allergy is not directly responsible.
Last weekend I went out and had a number of drinks. A couple days later I had a pretty severe hive outbreak. Then a couple days after that I got very sick - fever symptoms, general lethargy, as well as a mouth full of painful canker sores. I still have those now and it hurts to swallow, drink, and eat. I also continue to get hives and rash and I haven't consumed alcohol in almost a week.
Some people suspect that alcohol is merely aggravating some other underlying condition.
Can anyone make any sense of this? Any tips or clues? Much appreciated.
It may not be related the hives and alcohol consumption, as you tested negative for the components of alcohol. But as suggested it could aggravate your symptoms. The other identified allergens could be causing hives. Allergic reactions can show a waxing and waning phenomenon. They can improve or worsen with time. Also it is possible to develop new allergies, you could develop new allergic reactions to food or other substances. You will only have to closely monitor and avoid the allergens. You can use antihistamines as suggested. If the present antihistamines are not very effective you can consult your doctor for long acting ones.
In most cases of chronic hives, a cause is never clearly identified. In some cases, chronic hives may be related to an underlying autoimmune disorder, such as thyroid disease or lupus. Under a doctor's supervision, foods that have caused allergies in the past can sometimes be added slowly back into the diet. You can even opt for immunotherapy. Discuss this with your doctor.
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