Since I was born, I have had what is called Chronic Urticaria living in my body. Chronic Urticaria is a terrible version of hives that less than 1% of the population has. Around 20% of people get hives...you know, those itchy lumps on your skin that come up when you come into contact with allergens. Mine can be that way, itchy bumps that emerge when I come into contact with things I'm allergic to, but mine also can get into my joints and get into/under my skin. When y hives emerge, I am an essentially a vegetable. My fingers can't move and are red and irritated, my breathing slows to a near stop unless I get help, and sometimes it can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Web MD says, "About 20% of people get hives -- itchy red or skin-colored welts also known as urticaria. They're often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or drug. Usually, they go away quickly.
For a small number of people, though, hives come back again and again, with no known cause. When new outbreaks happen almost every day for 6 weeks or more, it's called chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU).
One percent or less of people have it. It's most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40. With CIU, a single outbreak usually lasts no more than 24 hours. After that, new hives form.
What Causes It?
Experts don't know. The immune system seems to play a role. Some people get chronic hives at the same time that they get other problems like thyroid disease, hormonal problems, or cancer.
What Are Some Common Triggers?
Even though doctors can't say for sure what causes CIU, they do know things that can lead to flare-ups. They include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Tight clothing
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin and ibuprofen
My illness is incredibly dangerous and effects my everyday life. I have to be careful whenever I go outside because one bug bite can send me into the emergency room. On vacations, I can't put any part of my body into the ocean without coming out of the water as a giant hive. I have lived with this illness my entire life and I have had many scares to the point where I inform every person I begin to date about how serious my illness is just in case they aren't ready for the responsibility.
I think most people look at me and see this happy, carefree girl, but they don't know that I live my life day by day anymore. I live y life to the fullest every single day because I can't promise that I'll be okay tomorrow. I try and love my life every day and make people realize their true potentials because sometimes I worry about my own. I have had to drop activities and people I care about because of my illness and it has made things incredibly difficult. I think what the world needs to learn from my story is that you never truly know what is happening in a person's life until you try and look for it. Love everyone while you can because who knows, they could be uncertain about tomorrow just like me.