On a very cold and slightly damp Saturday in November my husband and I, along with the children, took a group of Explorer Scouts (14 - 16 year olds) canoeing on a local lake. I was tired that evening and went to bed early with what felt like the beginnings of a headache, I rarely get them and can usually put them down to tiredness and/or dehydration both of which were a possibility. I woke the next day with a worsening headache and a gripey stomach both of which came and went during the day, I drank plenty of water, ate a little and went to bed early again. The next morning they had, thankfully, both gone but something far worse had taken their place my hands were incredibly itchy, a condition which had not bothered me for over a year had come back, Urticaria. Every now again over the last year I have woken and felt that I have eaten something that I shouldn't have, my hands will have a slight itchiness, but drinking plenty of water has seen it off, this felt different like the full blown flare ups I have had in the past. I made sure I drank plenty during the day and ate as usual, then next day it was worse and within two days it was waking me in the night.
Urticaria, for me, is caused by an 'overdose' of histamine either in the food I eat or the food I eat stresses my body causing it to produce more histamine. During the day as I eat an imaginary cup slowly fills with histamine once it is full it starts to overflow, the overflow is what causes my itchiness. Fluid leaks from tiny blood vessels just under the skin, the fluid forms tiny weals, the histamine also causes the blood vessels to dilate. It is worse at night and in the morning as the bodies coping mechanisms relax when you sleep. It wakes you in the night as histamine in the body regulates your sleep, too much of it will wake you. So I was trying to work out what had caused my overdosing to start.
I thought back over the previous few days, what I had eaten, how I felt, I remembered the headache and stomach ache. The only food I could implicate was sugar. I had eaten more than I usually would on that cold and damp Saturday whilst out canoeing. I had had some yogurt coated ginger and a piece of flapjack not a lot really, but more than I would normally eat and the sugar in the flapjack was golden syrup which I don't usually use to make flapjack (usually use a fruit syrup). A little bit of research on urticaria revealed that sugar can be a trigger, so it is most likely that is what it was, although I didn't eat that much it was a lot more than I usually would and to my body an overdose, so it went into over drive. This was a bad flare up, compounded by the fact that I had run out of one of the remedies I use and struggle to get hold of more. Lesson learned don't run out!