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Hives Update; Low Vitamin D

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sorry it took so long for me to write an update about my problem with hives/cold urticaria. Life seems to always be busy!
I saw the doctor and talked about my lab results. I was surprised that my thyroid tests were normal, because I was suspecting my thyroid was the cause. But all of my labs were normal, except for one....I have a very low Vitamin D level. My result was 16. Deficient is when you have less than 20, insufficient is 20-30, and sufficient is 30-100.

My doctor started me on a prescription Vitamin D called ergocalciferol, which is Vitamin D2. It's a gelcap that I take just once a week, at a dose of 50,000 IU. He advised that I take this pill with a high fat meal, since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin. I know I don't get a lot of sun, because I work indoors, and since my skin burns easily, I use sunscreen when I am outside. You can get Vitamin D from fish and from foods with Vitamin D added, like milk, but most people don't get enough from diet alone. Also, when researching Vitamin D, I learned that the Topamax that I take for migraines can deplete Vitamin D in the body, so perhaps that's one reason why my levels were so low.

Some symptoms of a low Vitamin D level include tiredness and fatigue, aches and pains such as muscle weakness and bone pain, impaired healing so that you have chronic infections, depression, and psoriasis. I certainly have some of these symptoms...psoriasis, sore muscles, and always feeling tired. I'm hopeful that taking the Vitamin D pills will help these problems.

From what I've read, many people who live in much of North America are low in Vitamin D, because we don't get enough sunshine. There are over-the-counter Vitamin D supplements you can take, and I assume I'll switch to those instead of the prescription strength after I make up some of the deficit in my levels. I'll probably buy Vitamin D3, instead of D2, when I get the over-the-counter supplements, as I've read that is better absorbed. But, before you start taking them, talk to your doctor and be sure you need them, because it is possible to take TOO much vitamin D. Because it is a fat soluble vitamin, and not water soluble, that means it is stored in your body in the fat cells, so you could have too much, and that can be toxic.

The doctor really doesn't know if the low Vitamin D is the reason that I started getting hives when exposed to the cold (cold urticaria). He said often the cause for the hives isn't found. To prevent hives, per his advice I've started taking a daily antihistamine. I'm taking daily Allegra, and I haven't had any hives since starting that. He offered that I could go for allergy testing if I wanted more answers about the hives, but at this point I'm going to just continue on the Allegra and get through the winter months. Then next spring, after I've had months of taking the Vitamin D and hopefully it has built up in my system and my levels are normal (I'll be tested again in six months), I'll try weaning off the Allegra and see if the hives return.

I was worried about how I'd handle the cold and winter, but with the Allegra, I've been outside in 30 degree temperatures and haven't had any hives. I do bundle up and wear hats, gloves, etc. Any skin that is exposed, like on my face, gets very red, but it doesn't itch or turn into hives, so I don't feel like I'm having a histamine allergic reaction. So...I'm okay with that.
Also, I'm always prepared "just in case" I would have a worse allergic reaction. I always carry chewable Benadryl and Pepcid pills in my purse and in my coat pockets. I knew that Benadryl could be helpful with allergic reactions, but the doctor said that Pepcid also is a histamine blocker, so if I ever had problems, to take both of these pills. If things ever get really bad, like an anaphylactic type of reaction, then of course go to the emergency room, and then start carrying an EpiPen, but hopefully things won't progress to that. I'm happy that at this point the Allegra is working for me.

So, that's the update. Just wanted to share what I learned, in case it helps anyone else. Thanks for reading.
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  • no profile photo CD22521290
    Very interesting about the Vitamin D and psoriasis. I have a skin condition that's thought to be an auto-immune condition called Lichen Sclerosus(caused by low thyroid and hormonal imbalance). It's similar to psoriasis. After reading your blog I googled LS and Vitamin D and found a website where there was a discussion about Vitamin D possibly helping with the symptoms of LS. Someone suggested to another that opening a Vitamin D capsule and combining the contents with the cream they were using may be helpful. There is a UV light treatment that helps a lot of people with LS, but it's rather expensive, so I haven't done it. Since UV light triggers Vitamin D production in the skin...hmmm. I'm thinking I may try the suggestion to combine Vitamin D with the castor oil and see if that helps at all. I'm so happy I read this blog!

    PS Another thing we have in common, we both burn easily and avoid the sun
    862 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/21/2018 7:17:12 AM
  • LINDA!
    I am happy that the doctor told you to take Vitamin D and Allegra. It is good that you are not having hives at this time. I have had eczema, in the past. What a lousy thing.

    900 days ago
    I'm glad you're feeling better! emoticon

    I take Vitamin D3 that comes with my calcium supplement. It also has Vitamin K. I use the chewable kind. Caramel flavor is my favorite. Recently, I started taking magnesium when I have the calcium. I got it because my multivitamin didn't have hardly any.

    I burn very easily too. One doctor told me it was because I needed a tan. I told her there was no way I could even get a tan! She didn't believe me that it wasn't possible for me. I go outside and turn red and blister. There is no 'tanning.' And they say not to do that anymore!
    900 days ago
    To answer RKOTTEK, I've taken about four doses of the Vitamin D, and I think it may be helping just a little. I think I have a little bit more energy. We are also getting into the darkest part of the year, with the least amount of sunlight, so I imagine the amount of Vitamin D I'm getting from the sun is even less than it was at the beginning of October when I got the hives. I think it will take a bit of time before I build up enough Vitamin D to notice a big difference. But I'm hopeful it helps, and any little bit of extra energy is better than none! :) I haven't had any more hives since starting the daily Allegra. I'm afraid to stop the Allegra at this point...I'll wait until spring/summer of next year to test it...don't want to tempt fate!
    900 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/13/2017 11:40:00 PM
    has the vitamin d
    been helpful so far?
    900 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    As I also suffer from cold urticaria, I truly understand what you are going through. Amazing I also suffered from low Vitamin D. My doctor had me take 5000 IU of D3. I have faithfully takem then for a year now, and I have upped my level from 27 to 59 which is where he says is a good level, so he has dropped me from taking them everyday to every other day, because as you said too much is toxic.

    I still suffer from the hives, but I've learned how to dress for outside. That makes a very big difference. I got myself a few face protectors from the sporting good store that just cover from your neck to nose. I always wear gloves. It's not too bad and I just deal with it. Hope you find what works for you. Wishing you the best.
    900 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/13/2017 6:35:36 PM
    Well, hope that the Vit. D helps.
    901 days ago
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