Help! Agonizing pain from Hives
February 14, 2008 6:53 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to relieve my pain from hives?

I have hives all over my torso, most likely from stress, as I have been going through some rough times lately. They pop up pretty much all over my torso, with one particularly angry patch of red bumps on my stomach. I can't go to the doctor right now because of lack of insurance, but I sent pictures to my mom, who is a doctor. She recommended claritin and hydrocortisone, but I still have a lot of pain. Every few minutes I get a stab of shooting pain from the patch on my stomach. The only thing I have found that helps is a lukewarm shower with some Aveeno body wash, or sometimes an ice pack. If the problem persists for the next few days I will get to a doctor somehow, but in the meantime what can I do/take to lessen the pain? I don't have any other symptoms, chills, etc.
posted by sweetkid to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Zyrtec is available OTC now- have you tried it? It suppresses my hives completely (and I have chronic hives that come up all over my body) so perhaps it will help eliminate even that small patch still left?
posted by pinksoftsoap at 6:58 PM on February 14, 2008


Zyrtec is a life saver, I've been suffering hives (all over, but legs mainly) for years now. They appeared just after some arsehole tried to sue my company.

I hadn't put two and two together that it was hives and thought it was an allergy, drove me crazy until a doctor told me to try Zyrtec. Now as seen as I feel the slightest hivey itch I take one and I have a few days of piece.
posted by mattoxic at 7:16 PM on February 14, 2008

Best answer: Just double check with the doc to make sure you don't have shingles... are your bumps mostly on one side of your torso or are the ones on your stomach in a band? I thought I had hives that just wouldn't go away, and they were painful as heck... not itchy, but actually hurty and achy. It was shingles. They tend to come out in times of stress. If it is shingles, there's not much you can do, but they should run their course in 4-6 weeks. If you catch them early enough the next time theres a shot you can get to shorten the break out.
posted by kimdog at 7:30 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: They're mostly on one side, and hurty, not itchy. They're not forming pussy blisters or anything, though.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 PM on February 14, 2008

Okay... this is just a data point, but my shingles weren't pussy and I only had one little blister about 3 weeks into the outbreak. I tried every kind of cream, antihistamine, and ointment and nothing really worked. That was when I checked with my doctor and got diagnosed.
posted by kimdog at 7:41 PM on February 14, 2008

I've used Atarax and Benadryl tablets and have settled on Benadryl just for OTC convenience. At the very least, you'll be knocked out while the symptoms run their course. Shingles are another story, though, so you might want to pursue that avenue first.
posted by rhizome at 7:56 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: Oh dear. I think it might be shingles.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 PM on February 14, 2008

If it's all over your torso it's not shingles. Stick with the antihistamines and topical hydrocortisone if you have that on hand. Short of a prescription, consider an over-the-counter topical analgesic with menthol, camphor, or even capsaicin. May or may not help but it's worth a shot.
posted by drpynchon at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2008

I'm afraid it sounds like shingles too, because of the pain.

Aren't hives usually itchy? I've only gotten them a couple times as an allergic reaction, and each time there was no pain at all, but the itch was incredible.
posted by chez shoes at 9:21 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: It's lightning pain, which sounds like shingles, but all over, which sounds like hives.
posted by sweetkid at 9:39 PM on February 14, 2008

Nerve pain and cannabis
posted by hortense at 9:42 PM on February 14, 2008

The most common location for shingles is a band, called a dermatome, spanning one side of the trunk around the waistline.

Shingles can appear all over your body, and are also caused by stress. The condition seems more likely to cause agonizing pain than would hives.

I developed shingles several years ago, when I was 32. I got it on my stomach and my back. Luckily, I recognized it for what it was almost immediately, and went to the emergency room where they gave me anti-virals. I suffered for about a week or two, but my shingles went away and have not come back.

If you can, go to the hospital immediately, because shingles can cause lasting nerve damage and pain.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:40 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: I also had it on my neck and shoulders, although the patch is only on my stomach. I wonder if it is possible to have hives and shingles...probably.
posted by sweetkid at 11:04 PM on February 14, 2008

Fermented corn flour...i kid you not, bear with me for a while:

Take some corn flour (you know the kind used to make tamales - the only brand i can think of is Indian Head), add some water and mix in a plastic mixing bowl till you get a nice thick doughy paste. Cover the dough with a damp cloth napkin, and then cover that with a nice thick towel...and leave for 3 days somewhere dark. After 3 days, you will have a nice fermented corn dough that smells, well, fermented!

Now, take that corn dough, and rub it all over the hives - and trust me, within 10 minutes you will not only be pain free, but hive free also.

Dont ask me the science behind it - i have no clue - but it's a popular traditional Ghanaian way to treat hives - and I'm ready to swear on my dead African grandmother's grave...that shit works! I have allergies real bad and that's about the only thing that gives me almost instantaneous relief. I just mix a batch of fermented dough and keep it in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and use it as needed. It keeps forever!
posted by ramix at 1:47 AM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]

Another data point, for what it's worth: I often get hives when under stretch and they have never been painful. Just incredibly itchy, red, swollen and warm. I don't know anything about shingles.
posted by puffin at 4:33 AM on February 15, 2008

Best answer: I really sounds like shingles. I feel for you.

When I get hives they're not painful unless I scratch through the skin and then the pain is only on that top layer.

If you have "lightning" pain or a "shooting" pain that feels like it goes trough multiple layers of skin you really need to see a doctor. When I had shingles it looked like a patch of hives but it hurt like someone was sticking a burning needle all the way into my skin. If it is shingles you'll want to stop rubbing steroid creams on it, if I remember correctly my doctor said that steroids make it worse. I held off on going to the doctor for almost a month and I swear I still ocasionally feel a similar pain in the same place 5 years later.

Oatmeal will sooth the itching either way.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 7:27 AM on February 15, 2008

i don't know anything about shingles, but i know a fuck of a lot about chronic autoimmune urticaria.

my hives are very often painful and shooty and stabby. they're itchy a lot of the time too, but there's still stabby.

just another data point.

benadryl gel is really great for relieving pain and itchiness for a little while. they also have it in cream and spray form if that's your thing.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:42 AM on February 15, 2008

Response by poster: Ok, I made a dr appt for Tuesday...after talking to my mom, it could be about a million things. She doesn't think shingles though.
posted by sweetkid at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2008

See if you can get gabapentin.
posted by herbaliser at 1:54 PM on February 15, 2008

Response by poster: Anyone who runs across this thread, I tried this Monistat powder-gel I use in the summer, for heat rash etc, and the bumps stopped itching/hurting so much, and even went down in size/redness. The main ingredient is dimethicone, so I don't know why this stuff works so well, but it is awesome. Still going to the doctor.
posted by sweetkid at 7:49 PM on February 17, 2008

Response by poster: In case anyone runs across this thread; I went to the doctor, and it is shingles, although a mild case. Nothing to do at this point to treat it but wait.
posted by sweetkid at 9:54 AM on February 22, 2008

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