When Hives Attack

“I look like I stumbled into a nest of hornets.”

It was the only thought I could manage at 7:00 AM yesterday, after a night of restless and uncomfortable slumber. As soon as I started to get into the shower, I discovered the reason I was so miserable: hives. I was covered in them. From my forehead, back along my scalp, to my neck and torso and arms and legs, I was more hive than human. Angry, red, itchy welts covered more than 85% of my body.

A cool shower helped. So did a double dose of Benadryl. I figured it was a reaction to the antibiotic I had just finished taking for my (latest) case of mastitis. (Did I mention Kieran got all four top teeth two weeks ago? And that he likes to bite? No? Hmmmm.) I thought it strange that the hives would show up a day after I finished the 10-day treatment. But I’ve heard allergies sometimes work that way. "It’s not the first bee sting that requires an Epi-Pen. It’s the fifth."

I figured I would be much better today, since I haven’t taken any dicloxicillan since Sunday.

I was wrong. This morning, the hives were back with the vengeance. (“When Hives Attack: Tonight, at Eleven.”) And this time, the Benadryl didn’t work as well or as fast. And while I was driving to church to attend a new moms group, I noticed my throat was swollen.

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

So now I’m sitting outside of the doctor’s office, waiting for my appointed time to go in and see how many drugs it will take to return me to my pre-plague-like state.

It’s either this – or bathe in the River Jordan.

And honestly? My own children recoiled in horror when they saw me this morning. You do NOT want to see me in a bathing suit right now.

Update: Lo, the doctor had mercy on me. Because my hives are particularly brutal, he prescribed a steroid for me that will give them a good Hulk Hogan body slam. I took a full dose yesterday immediately after leaving the doctor's office. By nightfall, many of my hives were completely gone. And while I woke up with new hives this morning, they are dramatically smaller and less red. Good thing, too, because tomorrow night, I'm attending a fundraising gala for Minnesota Teen Challenge. I'd rather not wear the plague.

Also, because I'm a compulsive oversharer, I feel the need to tell you that all that Benadryl I've been taking? It hasn't been making me sleepy. It's been making me hyper. (Google tells me this is a paradoxical reaction. I love Google.) Just a note for those of you tempted to give your active toddler a hit of cold medicine before you board a plane. (Not that I would have ever considered such a thing. Cough.)


  1. I am so sorry!! Hives stink, worse then most any illness. I hope they can fix you up quickly! And that your throat doesn't freak you out more.

  2. I have been there ... I have terrible allergies to our hard water, certain foods & lots of products (lanolin especially), so I take zyrtec & zantac every. day. - it's the only thing I've found that keeps it all at bay. They apparently fight the type 1 and the type 2 inhibitors. After a terrible bout with hives, my doc also prescribed some cream which has been wonderful - Desonide. Hope you feel better soon. Ugh

  3. Oh no! Because really, what busy mom doesn't want to be hit with a plague?
    Hope they clear soon.

  4. Ugh, I had the exact same thing happen with dicloxicillan, hives didn't start until the day after day 10, so didn't put it together, thought it was just stress. Then the hives started again a couple of months later while on the same med, and I finally figured it out. Sorry to say that they just had to run their course for me, benadryl helped a little perhaps. Not fun, so sorry you have them!! :(

  5. Oh, Kelly. I hope hope hope that it's easy to treat.

    I've never written about this, but I have chronic uticaria, which is a fancy way of saying chronic hives with dermatographism, which is a fancy way of saying that pressure, heat, cold, scratches, jewelry, elastic bands make me have hives. Constantly. There is always a patch coming or going somewhere on my body.

    I've had it for 4.5 years. When I read someone has mysterious hives, I clench up for them. I hope yours is gone soon, for good.

  6. Oh dear. Did they find out what it was or give you something? I hope so!
    I had a horrible reaction to some Chinese food and pollen all at the same time. Also potentially stress from a job interview. (I was in grad school) Needless to say when I got back to campus and saw a friend she said, what happened to you? I knew I was warm, but when I looked in the mirror I freaked myself out. It had come on totally in about 10 minutes. I took myself over to the health center and they said, take benadryl, a cold shower, and have someone there in case you have a worse reaction.
    So I took a shower and went over to my then fiancee (now hubby)'s house to take a nap so I wouldn't be alone.
    I'm still not sure I've forgiven him for letting me sleep in the other room and not checking on me once in 2 hours though... ;)

  7. So? WHat's the verdict? Are you hive-free and non-itchy? Hope so!!

  8. I sure hope those hives clear up completely soon for you! It doesn't sound like any fun. :(

  9. I feel like there's a book of the Bible about this...where the faithful is attacked?

    "I know! I should make her baby walk, give her mastitis, and when she goes to treat the mastitis, cover her skin with hives. O, and throw in a potty training toddler. For funsies."

    That's how it went, right? ;)