I am a 25 year old male. 10 years ago, when I was 15, I had an odd bout that began while eating Chinese food: very swollen hands and feet and lots of bumps on my skin (mostly red). I had to take pills for a week afterwards or the bumps would come back. The doctor said it looked like an allergic reaction but all allergy tests came back negative.
Over the past few years, my hands have become a bit swollen occasionally, maybe once every 4 months, and usually goes away after a few hours.
A few months ago, for about 4 days straight, I got weird skin-colored bumps, some a quarter of an inch, some a whole inch in diameter, that would last about a day and then go away. They were in odd places like my buttocks and my hips. They didn't hurt and didn't really itch either.
I had a hand-swelling episode 5 days ago, and I've been feeling under the weather ever since - tired, stuffy nose, low appetite. Last night, I had another hand-swelling episode.
Today, the top of my feet/ankles were swollen and I had some reddish itchy bumps on my legs. This all went away after a few hours though.
What is going on? Is this all somehow related? Is this a skin condition? An allergic reacton? Something else entirely that's not related to my skin, like heart failure? Just some odd little things that I shouldn't actually worry about?
This seems to be an allergic reaction called hives/angioedema. Hives are red, itchy welts or swellings on the skin that often come in clusters and look like large red circles.
They most often occur as part of an allergic reaction. No one lesion lasts more than 24 hours, but new ones may continue to appear until the condition resolves.
The sudden spike in histamine levels can cause an outbreak of hives in the upper layers of the skin. Hives are often caused by a hypersensitivity to:
•Foods (commonly eggs, shellfish, nuts, berries, dyes, or other additives)
•Drugs (any drug can touch off an allergic reaction, although allergies to penicillin, sulfa, and aspirin are especially common)
•Pollens and plants (nettles, poison ivy, poison oak, and so on)
•Insect bites or stings
•Exposure to heat, cold, or sunshine.
Other potential triggers include physical exertion or exercise, stress, illness, chemicals, cosmetics, textiles, and pressure from materials rubbing against the skin.
Angioedema is a swelling similar to hives, but the swelling is beneath the skin rather than on the surface. The swellings are called welts.
Treatment is avoidance of any known trigger. You can take anti-histamines like Cetrizine for the allergy.
Hand and feet swelling may be due to other conditions too which will require a medical work-up.
It has been a few months since you posted this, but perhaps you are still looking for another answer?
The typical allergy tests that you will find in a doctor's office is usually looking for an IgE response. There is a lesser known response that is triggered by what is called an IgG response and is very common. Often, foods we eat all the time have this reaction and we aren't usually bothered too much by it. IgG responses are usually slower onset, so you might only notice it a few days later. It is called food toxicity, or a food sensitivity.
The best lab that I personally know about is immunolabs in Florida, and they take blood-work from all over the country. You can check out www.betterhealthusa.com and it might give you a bit more information.
I personally went through something similar and the IgG test resolved my problem entirely. Now I have a list of foods that I avoid all the time and I don't have anymore strange symptoms.
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