About 6 weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night with really itchy hands. Both of them, itching in the exact same spot. By the time I woke up, some my fingers were swollen on each hand. Identical fingers too. As weird as it was, since I had been cleaning some old hiking stuff I assumed it was leftover poison oak.
By the next day there were red marks all the way up both arms, itching like mad and they were spreading. It seems like everywhere I touched it would turn red. Still sounds like poison oak to me.
On Monday, I woke up with my entire face swollen and my whole body covered. It was hard to breathe and speak. My friend Patrick drove me to a distant Urgent Care office where the doctor greeted me with total disgust because I had self-medicated myself by starting Prednisone on my own. Prednisone usually stops poison oak dead in its tracks. It wasn't poison oak though, he just sighed, told me it was hives, and gave me some useless medication that left me in tears from the pain it caused in my stomach.
Things got worse and by Sunday morning I went to a more local Urgent Care office and the lady doctor was great. She explained all about hives, gave me a shot in the butt and better meds and by the next day it was under control.
Laura's mother suggested I also try Vitamin C since it's a natural anti-histamine. She brought over some big orange flavored tablets which really did help, but it quickly became a love/hate relationship. Oh yeah, they are yummy but one can only take so much yumminess, hour after hour, day after day.
A few days later we went to GNC and bought Vitamin C crystals. It's a new thing, I guess. As long as I take about 6000mg of it a day, the hives stay relatively mellow. When I forget, they come back with a vengeance.
Update: The hives lasted over a year. As near as I can tell, they were caused by what must have been a newly developed allergy to chocolate. As soon as I stopped eating chocolate they went away and haven't returned.