Urticaria (from the Latin urtica, nettle (whence It. ortica, Sp. ortiga, Pg. urtiga, Fr. ortie) urere, to burn), commonly referred to ashives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Hives are frequently caused by allergic reactions; however, there are many non-allergic causes. Most cases of hives lasting less than six weeks (acute urticaria) are the result of an allergic trigger. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to an allergy.
There are so many people around our entire world who have never known the dreaded fire itch, they have never woken up in the middle of the night with lips that feel like two (American) footballs were surgically grafted to their mouths. These people have my envy.
I appear to have finally squashed this particular outbreak with the help of dangerously high doses of antihistamines that exceeded the recommended dosage by a factor of about three. But this one was bad. I got very little sleep this week, and even drifted into the realm of sleep deprivation induced hallucinations for a while. Nothing too dramatic, mostly visions of sand paper themed amusement parks where hives sufferers can go to roll around and find relief and agony in a single embrace of the sandpaper costumed characters.
Since moving from the San Jose province to the Cartago province almost 3 years ago, I have been getting recurring breakouts in hives almost like clockwork whenever the rainy season begins. I'm not sure if it's a certain pollen in the air at that time, a shamanic attack from an over punctual bruja, or a yearly reminder of how lame the Cartago province can be (and it kind it is) in a way that I can't readily ignore by shoving my face deeper into my computer monitor.
We really need to move from here. I have recently made friends with a very brilliant fellow ex-pat from the US who lives in the Heredia province. It is very secluded, like here, but there are more things to do in the form of taking your kids to a park or your wife to an actual restaurant. Plus many of the properties in the area are located on the eastern facing slope of the mountains, giving all the residents a beautiful bird's eye view of the Central Valley. That's more my speed than the coffee farms and breeze-less afternoons of my current location. Cartago has communicated to me that it does not like the fact that I live here, and so we are getting out of this Latin American version of Nebraska as quickly as possible....