• Liyan Lu

Allergic Urticaria (hives) & Angioedema

Urticaria (hives or welts) is itchy, raised, reddish areas on the skin. It appears without warning and may happen at any age. Angioedema is swelling below the surface of the skin and fatty tissue. Urticaria occurs more commonly and is less severe than angioedema as it only affects the skin layers, whereas, angioedema affects the tissues beneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue). Allergic reactions, chemicals in foods, insect stings, sunlight, heat, medicines and even exercise can induce the body to release a chemical called histamine which could make blood plasma leak out of the small blood vessels in the skin, causing hives or angioedema. Sometimes, doctors don’t know exactly what causes urticaria and angioedema.

Healthy Ping’s suggestions for urticaria and angioedema:

Vitamin B2 supports a wide-spectrum of health benefits, best known for its crucial roles in thyroid function and energy metabolism. It's also essential for healthy vision, tissue repair and the protection of the skin and mucosal. Taking vitamin B2 100mg daily can improve allergic symptoms in about a week.

Calcium & Vitamin C: Usually people take Calcium to strengthen the bones and take Vitamin C to boost their immune system. But, also both of them help control urticaria & angioedema and reduce recurrence because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. Take 500 mg calcium citrate 3 times a day and vitamin C 500 mg 1 or 2 times a day with a meal.

High dose of vitamin B6 and vitamin C: they stimulate the activity of the histamine-processing enzymes in your body. The enzymes break down histamine, avoid build up over time, stop symptoms of urticaria throughout the body and also reduce angioedema on the face. Take vitamin B6 10 mg 1 or 2 times a day with a meal.

Zinc is required to store histamine. If zinc deficient, more histamine will be released into the surrounding tissue fluids. Excess histamine can cause many common allergic symptoms such as running nose, sneezing, hives and skin rashes. Taking 10 mg of zinc daily can help allergic symptoms and skin issues.

Papaya & Pineapple enzymes help to completely digest protein and fiber, clean allergic antigens in the gut, reduce leaky gut syndrome and relieve inflammation.

Probiotics: Friendly bacteria helps regular immune response, prevents allergies; helps eliminate harmful viruses, yeast and bacteria digestive tract; reduces inflammation and infection.

Anti-histamine medicine: To relief severe symptoms from acute allergic reaction such as urticaria and angioedema, you can take anti-histamine medicine as needed. As soon as symptoms are under control you can gradually try to taper off anti-histamine medicine. You won’t always need to take anti-histamine. Please see the case report.

Case -1, female 65 years old, she had been suffering from urticaria and angioedema after working out every day for 3 months. Her blood tests showed her IgE doubled higher than normal level and the skin test indicated she only had a positive reaction to histamine. An allergist suggested for her to take allegra 180mg/day in the morning and benadryl 30 mg/ day in the evening. Due to the side effects of anti-histamines meds, she could not take a full dose. She stopped taking benadryl and only took 90mg of allegra every 24 hours for 3 days. Since her symptoms did not worsen with lowering the dose of allegra, she cut it down to 45mg, 30mg, 15mg and 7.5mg. She took the same dose every 24 hours for 3 days if her symptoms did not worsen she took the lower dose. If her symptoms of urticaria and angioedema got worse on the lower dose, she went back the higher dose. Gradually she tapered off anti-histamine medicine without any symptoms recurring. During tapering off allegra, she tried to stop taking the supplements but it resulted in her symptoms of urticaria & angioedema coming back. Therefore , meanwhile she had to take daily supplements: vitamin C 500mg, vitamin B2 100mg, vitamin B6 20mg once a day and calcium 600mg with vitamin D3 400 IU twice a day.

In her case, anti-histamine medicine (allegra) and supplements play different roles to treat urticarria and angioedema. Her case also showed that tapering off anti-histamine meds seems to get the same result as getting allergy shots from a different approach. Both ways help the immune system build up a tolerance to the allergens (desensitization), eventually the allergy symptoms diminish over time.

Case-2, female 70 years old, for over 20 years she had been suffering from seasonal hives and itchiness in the vagina and anus region. After she started taking daily supplements as case-1 but without taking anti-histamine after only one week, her hives improved 70-80% and free of itching.

For more information please call Dr. Lu at (661) 513-9265, Ping’s Acupuncture/Bamboo Acupuncture.

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