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A curious case of hives!


A man was referred to me not so long ago with a very bad case of hives. As you probably know, I don’t see many people these days as I am busy with lots of other things. However he was a relative of a friend and was desperate and very depressed. He had had hives for close to 20 years and had seen anyone and everyone and it was getting worse. The list was long and included GPs, skin specialists, acupuncturists, naturapaths, herbalists, homeopathy, aromatherapy and so on…

No one person had been able to help him. To be fair, a chronic case of hives is often very difficult to treat and to nail down. I would not classify myself as an expert on hives but I do know a fair bit about skin ailments.

After doing an initial assessment and going through the usual list of things, there didn’t seem to be anything obvious that was causing it and he had already tried eliminating lots of things to overcome his hives with no success.

I asked him to start writing a diary to see if there was a pattern and if we could see some suspects on that list. The diary needed to be detailed and to not just include foods but even the substances he touched, state of mind and temperature.

Two weeks later, I had pin-pointed several things which were contributing to his hives, but it was still not fully gone. The culprits in his case were:

Plastic - plastic bags, anything plastic but especially supermarket bags

Coffee - He was very allergic to coffee

Heat - He could not get too hot too fast

Onions - They did not agree with him at all

He avoided the above for a few days and his hives went down by 50% but they were still coming on. In the end, I figured out what it was and it was an obvious one but a not so obvious one. It was chewing gum! Yes, he chewed a lot of gum. I only noticed when I was talking to him. Chewing gum is a very artificial substance and he was chewing it all the time. It wasn't on his list in his diary! Recently he was chewing more as he had a new girlfriend and wanted to have fresher breath!!!! That’s why his hives were worse in the past few months.

It’s just amazing. There is always a reason for things; it’s just sometimes hard to find it. Doctors rarely look for this sort of thing. Anyway, I am glad we managed to find out what the cause of his hives were and he is happy.

If you suffer from hives or urticaria, please start writing a dairy and make sure you try and find out what you did just before you had an outbreak. Either a few minutes before or earlier in that day. The clues will be in your diary! It can be anything from food, anything you touched, breathed (perfume), water, heat/cold or state of mind (embarassment). Don't worry, if it is something like embarassment there are still things we can do such as Bach Flower Remedies.

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