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Red itchy marks on body after sleep. Are they bugs? Are they hives? Is it allergy? Solutions except anti-histamine?

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General & Family Physician
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I stayed in Guest house in Germany for 2 weeks and the first day itself, after I woke-up, I saw a red itchy marks all over my arms & waist. These seem like hives. They did not go away for about 2 weeks the duration I stayed there. It used to be on parts of my body which touched the bed & pillow. I tried medicines like Avil 25. The rash used to increase during evenings and nights. It was very itchy & red. It was not any bed bugs, as I got it thoroughly checked. The rash (hives) were gone in 2-3 days after I came back home.

The same thing happened after 2 months now, when I spend the night travelling in a sleeper train. There were bedsheets, blanket & pillow provided by train. The same rash and initially only at places which touched the bed. Then it spread across. The rash lasts for 24 to 30 hours and then it becomes fine, only to have new hives appear at new part of my body.

I want to know
1) What is this? Allergy or hives?
2) Any allergy test, which will help me know, to what chemical I am allergic to, which causes these hives?
3) Any solutions, apart from anti-histamine or anti allergic medicines & lotions..


Posted Sat, 14 Jul 2012 in Skin Rash
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 1 hour later

Thanks for writing in.

1) Allergy and hives are not two different things. Hives are swollen, pale red bumps or plaques (wheals) that occur on the skin due to allergy.

Allergy can occur to anything varying from food, medicines, cloth material, flowers, pollens etc.
Above history denotes that you are allergic to certain cloth material may be which has led to hives on your body.

2) Allergens can be found out only by exclusion like trying out different things which you are suspecting. Once you find out allergen, you can then confirm it by re-exposing to same allergen; provided you have all measures ready to tackle with that allergy.
A similar test is done in controlled laboratory environment using skin allergen test. You can talk to your dermatologist who can help you in getting this test.

3) You can apply Cetaphil lotion on affecting part. It has soothing effect.
I would recommend you to take oral antihistamines like "avil" before you travel in train or use different cloth material to sleep. It decreases chances of getting hives.
Apply cold-compresses to hives. It helps in soothening and comforting the affected region.

I hope I have answered your query. In case of doubt, I shall be happy to help you.

Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
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