New Dermatographia: What is helping you?

Posted by jackographia @jackographia, Nov 28, 2021

If you don't know what dermatographia is, please feel free to read and participate, but this discussion is aimed at people who currently suffer from this illness. I have questions that I don't think anyone without the condition can answer. The onset of my symptoms began about a week after receiving the Moderna covid booster shot. (My 3rd covid shot) Which may or may not be a factor. My symptoms began with full body itching, where any scratching would lead to very easy skin reddening. I went into an urgent care soon after and was prescribed steroids (prednisone) and antihistamines. While these work to lessen the itch GREATLY, my skin still reacts to even slight scratches or pressure with easy redness. My condition is largely self-diagnosed, but my primary care physician agrees with it.

There is so little relative information about dealing with this illness that I feel like I need to reach out here to ask. If you have/had this condition:

1. Did you (like I am) develop a tightness in your esophagus? or any bowel issues?
2. Does your face get flushed, fully red and feel warm?
3. Do you know of any support groups that I can reach out to for information and solidarity?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Autoimmune Diseases group.

Jackographia , welcome to Connect. I have at times had similar symptoms. Until I read your post, I had forgotten that years ago when I was a kid, a doctor told my mother that he could write on me with his fingernail and it would raise up in a welt. I read Mayo's description of dermatographia and one of the causes is believed to be emotional.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dermatographia/symptoms-causes/syc-20371411
For me that was true. I was a kid who was afraid of doctors. Also throughout my lifetime, I have had immune issues with metals in my body. Perhaps it was the silver fillings the dentist gave me when I was a kid that started this. Later as an adult, I developed allergic asthma and an autoimmune thyroid condition called Hashimoto's which my environmental medicine doctor linked to the old silver amalgam fillings. I also had issues in buildings with new construction when exposed to the fumes from glues and formaldehyde in the building products like carpeting. My face would get red and swell, and my ears would turn bright red and get hot and it triggered my asthma.

As an adult, I had the silver dental fillings removed and replaced with safer alternatives and my blood work dramatically improved and the antibodies against my thyroid dropped drastically. I also had dental work with porcelain crowns built on a metal base and root canals that were filled with gutta percha, a substance that contains cadmium metal. That all started because I broke my teeth as a kid and it eventually led to a succession of lots of dental restorations and root canals. When those old root canals began to fail under the crowns, I made the decision to remove the bad teeth to prepare for ceramic dental implants with ceramic crowns attached. There would be no more metal. After the bad teeth were removed, immediately my asthma improved a lot. I stopped getting chest infections that developed in the environment from having too much phlegm in my lungs as a baseline. I felt great. Then a few months later, I broke my ankle badly and needed titanium metal plates fixed on my ankle to put it back together. About 6 months later, I developed chronic hives and I had to take an antihistamine at least every 3 days because when it wore off, I got huge patches of hives fusing together on my arms and legs, and it tended to happen the worst were there was tighter contact of my clothes on my skin. If I scratched my skin anywhere, it brought up more hives in that spot. I also had pain and warmth where the surgical plates were under my skin on my ankle. After a year of bone healing, I had the surgical plates removed, and I have now returned to the state of my body being free of metals. The hives are gone, the asthma is much better and allergies are controllable. It has only been a few months since I returned to being metal free again and it has made a lot of difference.

It's hard to pin down the cause of something like this, but my experience and some evidence in my blood work points to an immune response to foreign substances from surgical implants and dental work. I'm sure my anxiety and stress as a child added into it as well as being the time when I received the first introduction of metals into my body from dental work which would be present for many many years and most of my life.

You may be interested in seeing an environmental medicine doctor and you can find a provider search at this link. https://www.aaemonline.org/

Has your doctor considered any possible environmental causes or exposure for your condition?

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The exactly same thing happened to me, just as you described, a week after my Moderna booster, I am currently taking 3 different antihistamines and I am on my 7 day of Prednisone, these help with the itching but I cannot scratch my skin, even slight pressure will make it red. My doctor wants me to see and allergist but I feel like I need to see and dermatology first. I will keep you posted. Best regards

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@stevematrix

The exactly same thing happened to me, just as you described, a week after my Moderna booster, I am currently taking 3 different antihistamines and I am on my 7 day of Prednisone, these help with the itching but I cannot scratch my skin, even slight pressure will make it red. My doctor wants me to see and allergist but I feel like I need to see and dermatology first. I will keep you posted. Best regards

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Steve, I did see a dermatologist when I had chronic hives for months and discussed with him my thoughts that it was linked to the surgical hardware I had in my body. He didn't think so. I have since had the hardware removed and don't have hives anymore. My allergist who is a functional medicine doctor did believe that the hives could have been related to an immune response to metals and was more open to that possibility. Hopefully your body will work through this allergic response soon. A topical lotion like Caladryl might help with itching too. I have also used Arnica gel which reduces inflammation and pain. Itching is actually the low end of the pain spectrum. It can be a reaction to the PEG (polyethylene glycol) which the Pfizer vaccine has, and the Moderna has a related ingredient that would also cause a cross reaction in a person who is allergic to PEG. Here is a link that talks about allergies and Covid vaccines.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/specific-groups/allergies.html
I had an allergic reaction to PEG after a Pfizer vaccine for Covid. I wasn't able to get a 2nd dose and talked to my allergist who advised me to take an antihistamine like Benadryl and 3000 mg of vitamin C before getting the next vaccine. I was able to get a J & J vaccine instead, and ahead of time, I tested my reaction to Polysorbate 80 (it is in the J & J vaccine instead of PEG). They say you can have cross reactions to it if you are allergic to PEG. Polysorbate 80 is a food additive. I tested it by eating ice cream that had it and it gave me a headache, but I was able to control it with antihistamines. I had the J & J and had a headache for 2 days, but taking vitamin C and antihistamines kept in under control. Then I felt fine except for a sore arm for about a week. My allergist also chose the J & J vaccine for himself and he said it had fewer side effects than the M-RNA vaccines. J & J is made similar to a flu vaccine from a killed virus source.

I will always ask if a vaccine contains PEG. I needed a tetanus shot after a wasp sting, and it did not contain PEG and I did fine. PEG is also used in prep for colonoscopies and is what Miralax is, so it is a common ingredient to watch out for if it affects you.

Don't let me talk you out of seeing a dermatologist however. They are pretty good at catching stuff that is going to turn into skin cancer and removing it before it causes trouble. Have you seen an allergist or dermatologist before?

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Hi @jackographia! I found your post because I searched to find out what the heck this thing my skin has been doing since my Moderna booster is. After some googling, here I am. No esophageal tightness, no bowel issues, and I can not help you with support groups either, but I do want to share my experience here in the event it helps others. So! I got my booster on Nov 5 2021 at a Walgreens. For the first time, I had side effects that I had not experienced before – a lot of joint pain and fatigue. Mind, I had barely any reaction to my first two doses of Moderna in January and February 2021. After the joint pain cleared up, the dermatographism began. I traveled to Tucson AZ one week later where I had the worst case of nasal allergies caused by pollen that I've had since I was a teenager. Two days after I returned to my home state, I got my hair dyed – same product, same technique, same stylist. This time, my scalp and the surrounding skin was moderately inflamed which had never happened before. All of these things have cleared up but the dermographism continues 24 days after receiving my booster.

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I, too had a bad skin reaction to the Moderna booster two days after shot. I did not have this before or had not heard of this reaction. It only came up when I googled skin reaction with vaccine. I do not know why this is not reported with other side effects because many have had this response. I reported mine to CVS. I had Shingles like rash on mid section and Chicken Pox rash on upper chest. No meds gave me relief. The only thing that helped was Oatmeal packets from drug store in a warm bath—not oatmeal made for eating. There are boxes of oatmeal packets prepared for baths. It is very fine ground. It did take away the itching. Rash went away in 2 weeks. Sometimes I get a few rashes on upper chest.

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I have the same exact symptoms after getting my covid Moderna booster. Exactly about 1 week after I noticed small amount of hives on my face and some tightness to my throat/wheezing and some residual cough and Shortness of breath. I do have a history of covid back in September and feel that its more related to having covid, but as I also got the vaccine booster not sure if it could be the vaccine vs covid.. Overall Im doing well, but the dermatographia is frustrating. I have tried a course of prednisone, on zyrtec, and also a betablocker due to tachycardia, use albuterol for the sob. My labs have indicated that my CRP is elevated and have been going up since. Maybe could be a case of serum sickness overall.

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I too have had similar symptoms after my Moderna booster (3rd shot). I received the booster on Nov 12th and dermatographia began on the Nov 23rd. Allegra helps with the itchiness and Pepcid reduces the red marks, as suggested by my doctor. Now on 4th day of Prednisone with little change in symptoms. As far as support groups, there is a research site that quite a few are commenting on who are experiencing similar issues, they also mention a Facebook group. I have not joined the FB group but did find the research and comments helpful. This comment box will not allow me to post links, but you can search for it, the site is called Cureus and the article is "Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria After COVID-19 Vaccine".

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@solco14

I too have had similar symptoms after my Moderna booster (3rd shot). I received the booster on Nov 12th and dermatographia began on the Nov 23rd. Allegra helps with the itchiness and Pepcid reduces the red marks, as suggested by my doctor. Now on 4th day of Prednisone with little change in symptoms. As far as support groups, there is a research site that quite a few are commenting on who are experiencing similar issues, they also mention a Facebook group. I have not joined the FB group but did find the research and comments helpful. This comment box will not allow me to post links, but you can search for it, the site is called Cureus and the article is "Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria After COVID-19 Vaccine".

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Welcome @solco14, I see that you wanted to post a link to an article. New members cannot post web links for a few days. We do this to protect the community from spammers, people who join only to post links to sell something, etc.

Clearly the link you wished to share is a helpful and useful link for the community. Please allow me to post it for you.

Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria After COVID-19 Vaccine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8525834/

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@johnbishop Thanks very much, that is the article I was referencing. This article can also be found directly on the Cureus website, which is referenced at the top of the link you posted (thank you). The Cureus website includes comments from others experiencing similar issues, in case others find their comments helpful as I did.

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@solco14

@johnbishop Thanks very much, that is the article I was referencing. This article can also be found directly on the Cureus website, which is referenced at the top of the link you posted (thank you). The Cureus website includes comments from others experiencing similar issues, in case others find their comments helpful as I did.

Jump to this post

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Same thing I am dealing with!!!! I need to find someone to discuss this with.

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