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Comedian Vicki Lawrence Raises Awareness of Little-Known Skin Condition

Image: Comedian Vicki Lawrence Raises Awareness of Little-Known Skin Condition
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By    |   Friday, 13 Oct 2017 03:13 PM

Vicki Lawrence is best known as one of the most beloved TV personalities of her generation, famous for her roles on "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Mama’s Family." Today, she says she still enjoys going “on the road, doing [her] show that [she] put together, trying to make people laugh.”

But what fans might not know is that Lawrence has a little-known skin condition called chronic idiopathic urticaria — CIU for short — which has no known cause. And she’s launched a new public awareness campaign to spotlight the condition and available treatments for the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from it.

“I broke out in hives about 7 years ago and my allergist said, ‘Almost everybody breaks out in hives at some point in their lives. We’ll get it under control, no worries,’ ” Lawrence tells Newsmax Health.

“After six weeks of trying everything you would do for allergic reactions, one day [my doctor] diagnosed me with chronic idiopathic urticaria, and I thought that he had probably made that up — I had never heard such a mouthful.”

When she took to the Internet to find out more about her condition, she wasn’t able to find any good information on CIU.

“Luckily,” she says, “[my doctor] was familiar with CIU so we were able to get my hives under control, and I have not had a breakout — knock wood — in a number of years now.”
 

But Lawrence is not the only one who struggled to find an answer for hives that wouldn’t quit. An estimated 1.5 million people in the United States have CIU — a skin condition that is chronic, has unknown causes, and can come and go without warning or triggers.

Treating CIU is tricky, but the first line of defense is usually the use of a long-acting, non-drowsy antihistamine. If that doesn't work, doctors may increase the dosage or try another type of antihistamine. Additionally, cutting out possible triggers, like specific foods or drugs, can help.

To raise awareness of CIU, Lawrence has helped to create the CIU & You Website, dedicated to providing sufferers access to information and answers about the relatively unknown condition.

CIU can be confusing to diagnose. “Patients can experience hives for a variety of periods of time,” notes Dr. Travis Miller, an allergy and immunology specialist.

“There are other causes of hives, but the major sign of CIU is that you’ve had it for six weeks or more. Some patients have had it for months or years.”

Lawrence says the CIU & You website has been designed to educate people about the condition and help sufferers learn more about how it is diagnosed and treated.

“It’s basically an educational program, CIU & You, aimed at people who are itching and haven’t been able to find the answers they’ve been looking for,” Lawrence explains.

“It’s got a lot of great information, my story is on there, there’s a lot of downloadable materials that will encourage you to track your hives and take pictures so that when you do get to the right allergist or dermatologist, you can be armed and proactive, and hopefully get a diagnosis sooner rather than later.”

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Vicki Lawrence, best known for her famous for roles on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama's Family, is going public with her struggles with CIU, a little-known skin condition. She's launched a new public awareness campaign to spotlight the condition and available treatments.
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2017-13-13
Friday, 13 Oct 2017 03:13 PM
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