A few months ago, Chip broke out in hives for three consecutive days.
I don't remember getting hives in my childhood and young adulthood or seeing them on my siblings before. My first memory of them was when I was living in London. I was walking along Brick Land with E after a (spicy) hot curry supper on a cold, windy autumn night when he noticed a pink bump on one of my cheeks.
Ever since, I was no longer a stranger to hives. They would pop up on my face or neck when I least expect them and I never figured out the causes.
The boys had a few episodes of hives in the recent years. If I recall right, they were nearly always found on Chip. Usually, we would give the kids some anti-histamine and just wait for the drug to take effect.
However, what I found puzzling in that three-days-episode was how the hives only showed up in the late afternoons for the three consecutive days. After a dose of anti-histamine on each day, they subsided a few hours later and Chip didn't suffer any other discomfort or side effects, other than severe itch.
I tried to list the food he ate in those three days but didn't find any common food that could possibly trigger the allergy.
I also tried to keep the house as dust-free as possible, and insisted that the kids change into clean clothes often throughout the day, since dust is another potential trigger.
The hives didn't return on the fourth day. I couldn't understand that either though I was relieved.
Last week, Chip had another three-days-episode of hives which first showed up when he was in school. He scratched so much that he bled.
Again, we couldn't figure out the triggers since he ate different food for the three days. Perhaps, the hives was due to viral infection instead of food-related. But there was no fever.
The worrier in me can't stop wondering if there is something else (more serious) that could be causing these episodes that lasted a few days at a time.
E, as usual, was very calm and nonchalant.
'If you are so worried, why not take him for a prick test and determine the things that he could be allergic to'.
The hubby did a prick test a few years ago, but the knowledge of allergens wasn't enough to result in any sustainable improvement to his condition.
So I am hesitant about administering the same test on Chip. Never mind the hefty price tag, but without an assured level of effectiveness to eradicate allergy, it seems to be a futile exercise.
For now, I am adopting a wait-and-see attitude. But I am switching to Ecover for the children's laundry. Even if there is no visible difference, it is good for my own peace of mind.