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Why do I have itching and redness all over my body?

Q: I am a 25-year-old female, suffering from severe itching and redness all over my body. I don't know the cause and what started it. I am on Allegra for the past one year daily, but this medicine is effective only for 24 hours after which I have to take it again. I have been doing this for the past one year and consulted several doctors but nothing helped. I even took 5 injections for histaglobulin. I am concerned about the side effects of taking this medicine for so long. Will it create any pregnancy problems in future?

A:It is difficult to know without a better description of your rash whether it is eczema (dermatitis) or urticaria (hives or nettle rash). These problems are not always due to allergy, and urticaria if of a chronic type may need long-term antihistamine treatment. Modern antihistamines are quite safe, but have not been used in many pregnant women. If antihistamine treatment is needed in pregnancy, many doctors prefer to use an older type such as chlorpheniramine (Piriton), which is safe but makes many patients feel drowsy. Sometimes these conditions improve in pregnancy, so that treatment may not be required.

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