What Is A MCAS Flare?

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What is a Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Flare? Well, I’m learning about the misery of this occurrence as we speak. I’ve had them many times over the past years, but didn’t have a name for them.

MCAS Flare

Last week I had a bad day of itching and skin splotches. Unrelenting burning/itching on most of my body was the way I would describe it. This type of itching usually is a first sign that my body is going into a state of anaphylactic shock. Often, the itching never gets to that stage. This is the best outcome. But, when it does, I (or Hubby) reaches for my Epi-Pen.

Since last week, I’ve had this terrible itching all the time. Any of my regular triggers seem to be doubling their effect. I’m normally chemically sensitive to nickel and other unknown chemicals. So, my CPAP mask (which is all chemically created) is causing blotches and swelling on my face and lesions on my head and scalp.

My eyeglass frames are causing a terrible rash behind my ears. My eyes are fat and swollen from eyedrops. Elastic waistbands and bras are breaking me out in hives and many other areas. It all culminates in utter misery.

Why does this happen? I’m not sure, but I try to read as much as possible about this problem. MCAS isn’t easily understood. Everyone has mast cells as part of their immune system. For some of us, Mast Cells are out of control.

Mast cell diseases are caused by the proliferation and accumulation of genetically altered mast cells and/or the inappropriate release of mast cell mediators, creating symptoms in multiple organ systems.2The three major forms of mast cell diseases are mastocytosis,  mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and Hereditary Alpha tryptasemia (HAT).


During my flare, I’m more fatigued than my normal level of fatigue. Even though I daily take my MCAS prescribed medications ( 2 Zyrtec, Singulair, and Ranitidine) this doesn’t cut it in a flare. I’ve been adding Benadryl. This makes me extremely sleepy and sometimes irritable. Oh, what fun!

Usually, the flares just resolve with time. If I’m not doing better soon, I’ll need to check in with my doctor. Often, prednisone has to be prescribed to knock these flares out. I hope you all have a low-pain, non-flare weekend.

@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. This post only contains my experiences. If you have any medical problem, please consult your personal physician.

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