About two weeks ago my husband was sitting at his desk, hard at work. He called out to me that his neck felt very hot and he was rather uncomfortable. I checked it out and his neck was quite red and the redness seemed to be creeping up to the back of his head. He said he felt as if a heatlamp was shining on him. Odd. After about an hour the color returned back to normal and we both went about our business.
The next day was Saturday and I was out and about running errands. My cell phone rang and it was my husband.
"It's happening again."
"What's happening again ?" I asked.
"The redness is back but this time it is all over my body. I am watching it spread. It looks like I have a sunburn. It feels like I have a chemical burn."
My sister is a medical assistant for a dermatologist so I suggested that he call her. She asked him if he had any taken any new medications or eaten any new foods or used a new laundry detergent. No, no and no.
Once again the redness disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. We scratched our heads. We tried to diagnose via WebMD. I was convinced the rash was caused by stress. I believe that stress is the root of many medical evils. My husband wasn't convinced.
Day three arrived. The red rash started on his hands. We watched as it spread up his arms, across his chest, down his back. Here we go again. We now were starting to get concerned. Our daughter didn't want him to go near our new grandbabies and we totally understood. Was this measles? Blood pressure issue? Time to call 'Ask a Nurse'. I mentioned to my husband that he should tell her about the incredible stress he has been under lately. Stress can cause body malfunctions.
The nurse asked him question after question. "Mention the stress. Mention the stress," I mouthed. He told her he had taken no new medications. No new skin products. No known food allergies. I wrote a huge note which I waved in front of his eyes. Mention the stress!!! He brushed my hand away and tried to pay attention to the questions being asked him. She asked him about the daily vitamin he takes. "Do you take any other supplements?" He told her about the fish oil and the glucosamine chondroitin. He mentioned the niacin supplements which we take. I had just bought a new bottle of the heart healthy capsules last week. She asked him how many milligrams were in each capsule. He read the small print - they were 2500% of the RDA. What? That couldn't be right. I am very careful about what we eat and try hard to keep us healthy. Niacin supplements have been part of our heart healthy regiment for months. I got out my reading glasses so I could read the fine print and had an 'aha' moment. While shopping I had bought the niacin but had not paid attention to the amount of milligrams in each capsule. I had bought the superduper niacin capsule which had caused my husband to have a niacin flush. In my rush I had not read the fine print.
I truly feel horrible that I had caused my husband worry and discomfort. How ironic that in my quest to make sure that we are doing all we can to be as healthy as possible I was the cause of the flush. I am so thankful that the side effects weren't more serious and once we stopped taking the superduper niacin capsules his flush disappeared. I learned my lesson...carefully read the small print and then your stress may disappear.