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Prickly Skin - nervous or anxious from the hot

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Hi all,
Just wondering if anyone knows of, or has experienced what I've been experiencing over the past few months. Whenever it gets hot, or I get nervous or anxious and I feel as though I'm about to sweat, my skin prickles like there's no tomorrow. It consistently wakes me up from sleep, it is just that painful. The most confusing thing is, there is no sign on the skin to suggest anything is wrong.
It seems to have gotten worse over the past week or two, and I've seen my GP who has no idea what it is, and has done a blood test which was 100% okay. I've tried moisturisers, vitamins, taking shorter showers, even zyrtec, to no effect.
Episodes only last for a minute or two, and if i cool down the area of skin or settle, the prickling subsides.
I'm beginning to feel as though I'm going to have this for the rest of my life, which is a real bother. I can't exert myself physically in any way, because doing so would heat up my body and trigger an attack.
Can anybody help out?

Cheers!
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First Helper Stoptheburn
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replied August 18th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
You mentioned that these symptoms appear when you're nervous or anxious. Does they ever occur just when you overheat? Or is anxiety/nervousness always present?
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replied August 18th, 2007
yogahoneybunny wrote:
You mentioned that these symptoms appear when you're nervous or anxious. Does they ever occur just when you overheat? Or is anxiety/nervousness always present?


It does happen only when I overheat. I think when I get anxious I flush, which exacerbates the condition. Keeping a curb on my anxiety/nervousness definitely helps, but I don't think anxiety is the direct cause of it.
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replied August 20th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Well, you might want to see a neurologist...I don't think a dermatologist would be the specialist you need to talk to, as you're describing a process that seems to be triggered by a raise in temperature.
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replied August 20th, 2007
is there a rash present? Little tiny red dots? I could be heat rash. Look it up on google
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replied August 25th, 2007
Re: Prickly Skin - Nervous Or Anxious From the Hot
Hi Sailorvic

I am a new user to this forum and I have the same symptoms as you. I'm not a medical practitioner but here's what I have so far.

I believe the medical term for our condition is: Cholinergic Urticaria. Cholinergic urticaria is a physical allergy characterized by the development of punctate (1 to 3 mm diameter) intensely pruritic wheals with erythematous flaring after an increase in core body temperature or stress.

In particular, our case seems to be of the sub-category of Exercise-induced Anaphylaxis. http://www.jcaai.org/pp/anaph_23_exercise. asp#anaph_XXIII_

Essentially, a raise in core body temperature or stress level can trigger an attack. No obvious sign/rash on skin to suggest anything wrong.

Like you, I get an attack in the following situations:
1) When I know I'm about to sweat, brief walk/exercise etc
2) When I'm nervous/stressed (happens a lot in my job)
3) After a hot shower (I've stopped having them since)

I've been having this since the start of this year. I'm 29 yrs old.

Bad news is I don't have any definite answer for you. I've relatively new to trying to cure this so I don't have a lot of suggestions. Below is what I suggest:

1) All literature agrees that the itchiness/pricking sensation is caused by the release of histamine in your body. Hence, anti-histaimine should help to minimize or at least lessen the attack. However, there are many different formulaes ofr anti-histaimine, including first-generation and second-generation types, H1 vs H2 etc. I am not a medical person so I don't know the difference. I hope to do more research on this in the coming weeks and find out what is best for me.
2) You mentioned Zrytec didn't work for you. How often were you taking it? What was your dosage? I've read that in some case you might need to keep taking it regularly to build up sufficient dosage in your body. http://www.jcaai.org/pp/ur_part_1.asp. My doctor said I can take up to 3 tablets a day.
3) Some literature also suggest H1 and H2 anti-histamine is required together to be effective
4) Other medicines that have reported to be effective on similar sitautions, Benedryl, Ketotifen, Cimitidine Magicul 800, ephinephrine. I have no idea what these are but am simply collecting what other people said has helped in the past. Don't use them without medical advise.
5) Some poster on this board reported Acupunture or Homeopathic Medicine to be useful. Again, not sure whether this is applicable for us but something to keep in mind.

I saw a dermotologist last week but he wasn't very useful. Apart from giving me the above medical term he essentially gave me 3 types of drugs (Claratyne, Zyrtec and Telfast) and told me to go try it out. I'm also trying to see whether there is a Cholinergic Urticaria specialist in Melbourne that can help with this.

For the next few weeks I'm going to take regular dosage of Zyrtec (3 times a day) and will test out the effects during that period. I'll report back to let you know how I go.

We're both in Melbourne so what works for you might work for me. Please keep in touch. Would love to hear how you go. Feel free to PM me for more detailed discussions.

Dwarfer
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replied April 17th, 2012
Prickly skin when over heated.
Hello! I'm 17. Anything new you discovered works? Because I can't live with this the rest of my life. It's tearing me apart.... I can't do anything over the summer but sit inside! It's horrible.... Email me thank you please reply soon. It would help a lot!
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replied March 3rd, 2009
hi
Hello, I am from CT and I have been experiencing these same problems for about a month now. Have any of you found the cure or anything to help this situation?
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replied July 27th, 2010
hi everyone i have also experienced this sensation on my skin but i have one question is it one area in your body or your whole body. i used to feel this when i was younger and now its back if anyone has any suggestion to a home remedies or a drug or lotion please let me know thx, btw air conditioning helps alotbut the only problem is you can't leave your house
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replied November 6th, 2010
Hi, i have the same symptons, im 16 and always get prickly skin on my chest, sometimes lower back when i shower or even have a coffee, it's incredibly annoying and i worry alot. Sometimes i even get it when i jump in a really cold pool, but it subsides after a little while, summer is going to be here soon and i find it will be a big problem. I'd love for some home remedys please, as it would make my life that much easier. thanks.
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replied February 21st, 2011
Hello , I have the same problem, I get a prickly hot feeling on my chest and neck and sometimes my face.. I hate it and when I get hot I panic.. I don't know what is causing this.. Does everyone on here that is experiancing the same symptoms also have panic and anxiety ??
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replied March 24th, 2011
I also have this, I dont know what it is but I've had it under control for the last year or so.
I used to have the exact same symptoms.
I read somewhere that someone who had it started regularly going to the gym and said that sweating helped.
After reading this I thought I would give the treadmill a go. The first time I did it, the prickling felt stronger than ever, but after I started sweating the prickling started to slowly fade away. I continued for a week and felt normal again, but still even now, I need to use the treadmill every now and then or I feel like its slowly all coming back.
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replied July 6th, 2011
Prickly skin
I first got this about 25 years ago - really intense. No sign of rash or bumps, but horrible prickles. Couldn't sleep at night. I stopped eating anything related to almonds and it disappeared for years. Right now I'm having an attack, and have no idea what could have triggered it. The prickles are everywhere - the worst is the ears and scalp, but it's legs, arms, torso, you name it. Docs have never been able to help me, either.
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replied July 22nd, 2011
Prickly itchy feeling on your skin.
I get the same prickly itchy sensation, it seems more in my lower back when I get hot, I was cleaning and everytime I started to get hot I would go outside to cool off so it would go away, which is very annoying I don't get it as much as the rest of you, I think it has been about a month and I took some benadryl and it helped. I am experiencing more anxiety than usual. I am going to document this time and see if taking more benadryl works. Thank you for your input this is a weird feeling and it does kind of scare me.
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replied December 7th, 2011
Prickly Skin
Hi,

My name is Ian and I'm from Singapore.

For me, I too experience this same prickly sensation on my skin ( especially to the worst area - face, chin and scalp ). The attack usually starts in hot and humid weather condition or when my body starts to feel hot.

Apparantely, the attack happen not only under hot outdoor condition, but in air-conditioned room too. Was having sex and when during ejaculation and orgasm, my whole bdoy became warm and the prickly sensation to my face abd head was twice the normal amount.

Back in 2009, I enlisted into the army and my condition suddenly took a change for the better and completely recovered.

Before enlistment, most of my time were spent indoors or in air-conditioned places. Apprantely when I was serving my Basic Military Training under the hot sun for two months, I did not suffer a single attack. This lasted till when I was posted into medical centre role and thats when the attack started again.

Currently I am working in the private sector which 80% of the time in air-conditioned office. The attacks are pretty almost everyday. moisturiser, thermal water spray.. you name it I try it but to no avail.

Conclusion, is the dry air-conditioned atmosphere the root of the problem? Our sensative skin exposed to too little sunlight (the vitamins in sunlight)? This remains a weird mystery in medicine. Any doctors or specialist please enlightment us on our suffering. Will be gladly appreciated.
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replied February 20th, 2012
More Hot Needles....
I'm 38/male and have had this happen pretty much every winter for the last 15 years or so.
A rapid wave of 'hot needles' all over my body. Sometimes just in my feet or head. Other times just in my chest/back. It comes and goes in a matter of minutes and is quite unbearable. The first time it happened, i wanted to rip off my skin!
I've never noticed a rash with it until this year, which is small and comes like little red goose bumps and then goes away in a matter of minutes.
Perhaps, 'Miliaria Rubra'?

Only in winter does it happen and only when I get hot, about to sweat - although I've noticed that it happens now if I get suddenly stressed and my body temp is already at a higher level than norm, like in a warm room.
It would usually only happen a few times per winter and I would just forget all about it, until it happened the next year. However, this year it has come to stay and with a vengeance.
It seemed to me that it was happening because I couldn't sweat in cold temps. - that my body was tightening the pores in cold conditions, making it hard, painful to sweat.
With this in mind, I went to a sauna recently and drank lots of water and sweat really good. This seemed to help, but it slowly came back a few weeks later. Now it happens even in the middle of the night if I have to urinate, for instance, and may have been holding it for a bit in my sleep.
Where it used to happen a few times per winter, now it is happening a few times a day.

I plan to visit the doctor, which I rarely do, when I return to the US, though from all that I've found on the net about it and hearing people's stories about having doctor's visits, it doesn't seem like anyone has found a real cure or even why it's really happening...


Please someone email me if you find any helpful info!


Much, much thanks.


~ Nome
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replied February 28th, 2013
Hi everyone,

I know exactly what you are all going through. It's good to know that I'm not the only one though I never really believed I was alone with this. After reading through everyone's comments and piecing together some information, I'd like to offer a little bit of help.

First of all, we all know this prickly feeling happens when we are getting warm and about to sweat. Feeling anxious or nervous only exacerbates the problem as those emotions increase body temperature. To some of us it happens in localized parts of the body, to others, the entire body. It sounds like we are all experiencing different variations of the same thing and each person experiences it to a different degree.

I am one of those who experiences this anywhere from a few times a week to several times a day, it all really depends on what I am doing and what the ambient temperature of my immediate surroundings are. When in a warm room and I exert myself a little, it comes pretty quick. When outside during the winter, it takes a while as my body has to heat up farther before it reaches the boiling point (if you will). Basically, I guess I am just confirming what others have said and that this happens when we are on the verge of sweating. One thing that has helped me drastically with this is to actually sweat. The feeling will intensify while trying to work up a sweat, but once the sweat starts to come freely, it will almost immediately disappear. I recently did a 90-day home workout program and during the entire time (after the first week or so) I did not experience the maddening prickliness. If I did start to feel it while doing the workouts, I would only work harder and faster so I would start sweating and it went away.

So, for those that are worried about going outside or afraid to work out or exert themselves in any way, try forcing yourself to sweat knowing that the feeling will intensify (don't be afraid of it) until you actually start to sweat.

I also want to confirm that cold does help, especially when applied directly to the skin. I ride my bike to work (even during the winter) and 3/4 of the way there, I feel it coming on. I grit my teeth and finish the ride, then as soon as I'm off the bike, I rub my cold hands over my upper body anywhere I can reach. I take a few deep breaths, calm myself (reducing the anxiety I feel about it), sometimes closing my eyes while working on it and it slowly goes away.

We can control this! I haven't yet tried taking any medication for this as I seem to always be able to either make myself sweat (and it goes away) or I calm down, relax, and apply cold to the skin (and it goes away). I am, however, intrigued and will try a few of the over-the-counter meds listed here and will report back what I find.

I hope something I have said will help, at least a little. Just don't be afraid to sweat. Heh, I almost feel like this is our body's way of telling us that we all need to exercise more.

Good luck everyone,
Benjamin
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