These past two weeks have been something. Has anybody felt a shift in their mood or their health? Because I know I sure have.
Some people have said they felt a shift after the eclipse happened, and others have told me it’s because Mercury is in retrograde (I had to look it up). I don’t know if I believe in all of the astrology hoopla, but I know that I do get antsy and feel a hormonal shift with the changing seasons.
About two weeks ago (August 15th to be exact) I started feeling unnecessarily moody and anxious. I couldn’t really place my finger on anything that was different or out of the norm for my daily schedule that I should be stressed about, so I just kind of let it slide without a thought.
But that week my work schedule changed and I went from working 2 days a week to 4 days. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me it can be mentally tiring. That same week we attended a summer outing for Brendan’s work, and since I don’t always like social gatherings that might have made me feel a little on edge.
Anyway, it was that Thursday night (August 17) that a rash started to appear on my body.
My neck and eyes started itching and I thought it might be an allergic reaction to something. Besides the mild itching and inflammation there were no other symptoms, so Brendan gave me some of his allergy medicine and we went to bed hoping the itch would be gone in the morning.
Well, it didn’t go away and it only got worse as the weekend and week progressed. Friday night I was also fighting an anxiety attack, so that weekend was just a big mess.
The rash ended up spreading all over my body – neck, chest, arms, torso, legs, etc. Thankfully my face stayed clear!
I sent a picture of the rash to my mom, and she thought that it looked like it could be poison ivy. I used to get poison ivy as a kid and there were a couple of times I had to go to the doctor because it spread to my face. But I haven’t had a rash from poison ivy since I was 15, and I couldn’t think of where I would have gotten it from. Besides, this rash looked more like hives to me – small red bumps all over my body, not blisters like I usually get with poison ivy.
If it was an allergic reaction to something, I couldn’t figure out what I would be having a reaction to. As far as I know I’m not allergic to anything, and I hadn’t tried any new foods or used any new health or beauty products.
The only thing that I thought likely to be the culprit was a natural flea/tick spray that we bought for Cheetah (my cat). The only ingredient in the spray I thought might have caused irritation was the sodium sulfate in it. But even that seemed unlikely.
Now, if you know me you know that I avoid going to the doctor at all costs. Like, it has to be a state of emergency for me to willingly go. I just really didn’t want to have sit in a waiting room where I could end up catching something else for hours only to have the doctor tell me that it was poison ivy/hives and have them give me a steroid. While a steroid might have helped by decreasing the inflammation it would have also reduced the activity of my immune system, and I didn’t want to risk catching something else because my immune system was weakened.
So, I set out to do my research on natural holistic ways to cure poison ivy/hives.
On Sunday (August 20th), Brendan and I did a little shopping to get a few things to hopefully help bring healing to my body. Luckily, I’ve been working on stocking my natural medicine cabinet this year and already had a decent amount of things on hand.
I tried just about everything for this rash. I used cut up cucumbers to rub on the rash, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Essential Oils, an oatmeal bath, baking soda, aloe vera gel, homemade calendula salve, etc. And while all of these things helped in their own way, I quickly realized that this rash was going to have to run it’s course.
We did eventually buy some Benadryl for me to take to see if the antihistamine would help. I really didn’t want to take it because the Walmart brand we first looked at had gelatin in it (that was a big no-go) and the Benadryl brand has D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake and other useless synthetic chemicals and dyes in it. But at that point I figured taking a couple of pills wouldn’t do too much damage to my body.
I honestly hate the fact that you can’t easily find medicines that don’t include some kind of chemical or dye in them. I was reading that most of the time D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake is used simply to add color. Do we really need a Benadryl to be bright pink? No, we don’t. And we don’t need to be ingesting aluminum either.
Anyway, I took the Benadryl on Wednesday night (August 23rd) and then again before work on Thursday morning. The Benadryl made me feel drowsy, light headed, and a little dizzy. I felt ‘bleh’ all day.
I showed one of my co-workers my rash (she is getting her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in infectious diseases) because I figured she could give me advice on what it was and if I should go to a doctor or not. She said she thought it looked a lot like a stress rash and said she had had one similar herself.
My rash ended up improving by Friday (August 25th), a week after it had first appeared. The burning inflammation and itching subsided and started to dry up and I started feeling a lot better.
Whether or not the rash was caused by stress, it certainly brought my attention to the fact that I need to be taking care of myself, both physically and mentally.
Even though the rash was a bit painful and inconvenient (especially because I had to wear long sleeves and and jeans at work to cover it up, which irritated it more), I learned a lot about poison ivy, hives, and stress from all of the research that I did. I also learned the importance of being patient and in tune with my body. So I don’t look at this as a bad thing.
While I am thankful for modern medicine and the doctors that we have today, I feel that too many people overuse medicines like antibiotics and steroids. It would be wonderful to see more people taking the time to get to know their body and how it works and responds to the world around it, so that they could better take care of themselves instead of running to the doctor at the first sign of something as simple as a cold.
Here is a more detailed list of some of the items I used to try and bring healing to my rash naturally:
- Cucumber – I placed these on my eyelids and rubbed them on my arms for a soothing affect.
- Witch Hazel – I applied Witch Hazel daily all over my body. Witch Hazel is an astringent and is soothing and can promote healing.
- Tea Tree Oil – My grandma taught me about the amazing benefits of Tea Tree Oil years ago. She always used it to help stop the itch from bug bites. I used this all over my body (sparingly on and near my face), and while it did sting at first it brought great relief from the itching.
- Lavender Oil – I used this the same way I did the Tea Tree Oil. I liked using the Lavender Oil at night to help me feel more relaxed and at ease at bed time.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – Seriously, what can’t ACV do?! I applied the Raw ACV with a cotton ball all over my body to help soothe the itch and inflammation and to help draw out toxins. And even though it was a bit strong and smelly, it felt wonderful and took the itch away.
- Baking Soda – I dissolved baking soda in a bath to help draw out toxins.
- Oatmeal Bath – I placed some organic oats in a tea towel, tied it up, and let the faucet run over them to create a nice soothing milky bath.
- Nettle Tea – I don’t know if the tea helped or not, but Nettle is known to help with allergies, so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, it tastes good!
- Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe Vera is great for soothing skin and easing inflammation.
- Cold Compress – During the last days I had the rash they burned more than itched, so a cold compress felt wonderful.
- Homemade Calendula Salve – I made this salve for bug bites, but it’s also great for cuts and turns out it helps with rashes too.
Have any of you ever had a stress rash/hives? I’d love to know if you have any tips on holistic healing and keeping stress at bay!