The rash is back.
I just don’t have the words to express my frustration. So, I won’t. It’s not a sweat rash, because that’s more like a heat rash. Upon extensive Google analysis, I found the answer: Cholinergic urticaria. Think “exercise hives.” It’s brought on by exercise and heat, and I only get a flare up after working out. Baking in the sauna then taking a hot shower with scented body wash only makes things worse. In sum, everything I’ve been doing to date has caused/aggravated this condition.
What a perfect excuse to give up. I’ve got this awful, itchy rash – but it’s not as horribly itchy as it was four weeks ago – caused by everything I’m doing to get this weight off. I mean, let’s run it all down:
· I’ve been to the doc’s office. Twice.
· I had a prescription antibiotic. Didn’t work.
· I had prescription steroid and anti-itch meds. They worked.
Less than a week off the meds, the rash came back, big time.
I’ve always had sensitive skin, and therefore have to be careful about the products I use. Rarely have I broken out in hives, but when I have, I’ve known what they were. I also get a heat rash once a year, usually when there’s a sudden temperature extreme, but it only lasts a short while.
This rash? THIS RASH SUCKS.
Think chicken pox, and you start to get an idea of what I’m dealing with. The bumps start off small and angry. I scratch, then they get really pissed, swell and itch more. I think I’ll wait on yet another doc visit. Not trying to take any more meds. And like I said, it’s not as awful as before. I do still have plenty of anti-itch pills – hydroxyzine, which makes me drowsy – but this time I’m taking the following steps:
· No scented oils or body butters. This makes me sad. I was all into my moringa body wash, but it absolutely stung my skin, as did the grapefruit-orange body butter. Nope, it’s back to the antibacterial, unscented bar of Dove for awhile.
· No super-hot showers. At the gym, I usually turn the spigot as far in the red as it will go. No more.
· Gotta give up the sauna. Was hoping it was some sort of allergic reaction to my swimsuit, but no such luck. It’s the heat. Of course, that means no more spa, either.
So really, I’m just trying to let all this stuff heal, and hopefully after a month or so, it will go away as my body gets used to the exercise-heat-sweat routine.
I had a great workout Saturday, but in the shower, I felt as if I were being pelted with tiny needles. I patted myself dry, glanced longingly at the sauna door, and powdered up with cornstarch.
Sunday, I went on a three-mile stroll around my neighborhood, working up a little sweat. The wind kept my skin cool, and I drank I lot of water during the walk. The shower still hurt, but not as much.
I’m thinking next time, I’ll take an antihistamine before I work out.
The really bad news is, there’s no cure. I’d like to believe that all this is just a fluke, and it will end soon. Meantime, I’ve left a message for Dr. Bean about my self-diagnosis, and requested a recommendation for a good, OTC antihistamine that won’t cause daytime drowsiness.
Onward and upward.
First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me. ~ Steve Martin
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.