We have had success with our eldest son being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.  It has been a very long 2 and a half year investigation (and one that was done with a teenager who wouldn’t change his diet).  I’ll give you a snap-shot of what he has gone through over this time (and maybe help save others some time in getting to the bottom of it).  When B was 6 years-old he started breaking out in massive hives, every day.  We had allergy testing done and it came back showing allergy to grass seeds.  After suffering hives every day for 6 months they all of a sudden stopped.  Great!

Then in February 2011 he woke up covered in big red hives again.  This happened every single day for almost 3 months (and a trip to the allergy specialist who said, “this boy does not have an allergy, there is something more going on, Google chronic hives”).


To cut this very long story short, he would have an outbreak of hives every single morning, then roughly once every month his face (particularly his lips, eyes, wrists, fingers) would swell up so badly, we are talking unrecognisable facial swelling, and it would take about two days to go back to normal.

I tried very hard to get him to change his diet; he was great at home but would blow it when he was out.  Teenagers are very resistant to things, understandbly, they want to fit in with their peers.

I was put on the autoimmune trail by my cousin (whose daughter has an autoimmune disease) and I went straight to the doctor so I could get some testing done.  So, lots of blood tests (every month), scans (he had enlarged spleen), skin biopsies if hives and welts, and countless specialists visits later we finally have a diagnosis of Urticarial Vasculitis.  You bet I have researched it (and a treatment is steroids…ahhh no thanks).

So finally B will take this seriously and decided to his Mum. We will take his elimation diet in baby steps, first to go is wheat and gluten (which we already have implemented but he doesn’t follow strickly when he’s away from home), then dairy and we will take it in stages.

2015 update: 4 years on. He no longer has daily outbreaks of hives, however he does get them once or twice a month and the swelling episodes are only every 6-8 months.  Baby steps but at least he doesn’t have to live with them daily.  A complete health journey when you’re recovering from a disease is very long, he has done the best he can with his diet changes. He is now 18 years-old and living 4 hours from home so he is adjusting to finding his way on his own, I’m extremely, thankful for his very supportive girlfriend who helps him keep his diet in check.



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© Jessica Rath

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