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Don't they say the equinoxes are usually a bad time of year for Episodics?

My attacks have actually been VERY mild the last few months (wish I could say the same for my migraines and headaches). I've been hit a few times, about once a week. One or two have been a KIP6/7, but most have been very mild. So am counting my blessings and planning on busting tonight, just to keep the beast away a bit longer if I can, and to help my migraines.


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Hey didgens, tangerinearmy and MoxieGirl,

I'm chronic and, despite busting, March was a bad month for me. I only had 7 pain free days all month. Sadly I also had several days where I had 2 attacks, and one day where I had 3 attacks. So I had a total of 34 attacks in March. I'm pretty sure the time change was a factor. On March 29th I started the D3 regiment and hope it will help make April a better month.

Take care all

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's a high probability this increase in CH activity is due to the spring pollen causing allergic reactions that flood our systems with histamines.  When that happens nearly every form of CH intervention is less effective or not effective at all.

The insidious thing about pollen allergies is they can be sub-clinical with no outward symptoms so you could be having an allergic reaction and never know it.  Pollen can also lay around the house, car and workplace for months.  All it takes is a little movement to send it airborne and it hits the nasal passages.  When that happens, mast cells in the mucus membranes start dumping histamines into the local area and bloodstream.  When the histamines reach the trigeminal ganglia, they trigger neurogenic inflammation and we're off to the races with another bout of CH.

There are other sources of allergens that are with us year round.  Any damp areas can generate mold spores and the biggest source is dust mites.  They live with us year round in bedding and pillows...  They may not be enough to trigger an allergic response on their own, but throw in a little more spring pollen and you reach a tipping point where there's enough to trigger an allergic response.

Here's my story...  I'm a chronic type and have kept my CH in full remission with the anti-inflammatory regimen (10,000 IU/day vitamin D3, Omega-3 fish oil and all the vitamin D3 cofactors: magnesium, zinc, boron, vitamin A (reinol) and the vitamin K2 complex MK4 and MK7).

I live in the Puget Sound area of NW Washington state. I started falling out of remission in mid March as soon as I returned from a stay with friends down in Key West, FL where I had been CH pain free taking 15,000 IU/day vitamin D3. 

Alder tree pollen was sifting out of the mature trees that surround our house like a dust storm that coated my black pickup turning it gray with a very sticky and heavy dusting that acts like powdered weldwood glue when the rains hit it.  See photo below.


It took less than 24 hours after I returned home for allergy symptoms to appear and that was when I had the first outbreak of CH.  I realized what was happening so started taking vitamin D3 at 50,000 IU/day as loading doses thinking that would overpower the flood of histamine triggered by the pollen allergy.  A week of loading cut the frequency a little but not completely. I was still getting hit one or two times a night while sleeping

At that point the clue bird made a low pass and the good idea light came on bright... Treat the allergy! 

It took a little reading to identify the best treatment option and I finally settled on benadryl (diphenhydramine), a first-generation antihistamine.  I started taking it as directed at 25 mg four times a day, every 4 to 6 hours...  It took a day for the benadryl to start working, but by the second day I was back in a CH pain free state...

The rationale for benadryl is it passes through the blood brain barrier to block histamine receptors in brain cells. Benadryl doesn't stop the mast cells from releasing histamine and other cytokines, but it does help block the allergic reaction and associated inflammation. The only downside of benadryl is it acts as a CNS depressant so I've been a bit drowsy and napping frequently...  Second- and third-generation antihistamines can't get past the blood brain barrier so don't pose a problem with drowsiness, but as they can't pass through the blood brain barrier, they would likely be ineffective in this case. 

It's been a month and so far so good.  The Alder pollen drop is over, but it's been replaced by an equally heavy pollen drop from the Bigleaf Maple trees...


We've several 200 year old Bigleaf Maple trees near the house and they're loaded with blooms that drop a yellow pollen that collects on my pickup like finely ground cornmeal.

I've managed to cut back on the vitamin D3 to 25,000 IU/day and three benadryl tabs/24 hours... and still remain pain free...  Lesson learned!

Hope this helps...

Take care,

V/R, Batch

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I have been  almost cluster free for 24 months or so. So it's springtime in Nebraska. I know the spring air is a trigger for me. I took a big chance last week and exposed myself to yardwork and the neighbors. Of course that was not a good plan. Within 24 hours the histimines went crazy and the clusters followed the next day. I usually take a couple Benadryl before doing yard stuff and I limit my time outside. I rinse with cold water from the hose and then go in for a shower. I've tried all the antihistimines and agree Benadryl is the only one for me. I've tried the wonderful new nose sprays only to get dry sinus and more pain. I use a saline nasal wash after working outside.

I truely believe it is important to clear up the sinus first and then attack the clusters.

After my nice remission I took the hits hard. The attacks were different. The sinus headaches followed the old cluster pathes.

My magic meds. were three years old. They did seem weak. I'm not going to push that limit again. They say the meds. will last forever when stored properly. I don't think so.

I just wanted to share that with you all. Also it is a good idea to keep Benadryl on hand because of bees and other wild things like spider bites.

                    Fair Winds         Leslie

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I too have seen CH'ers reporting relief with benadryl at times - it makes sense to me that allergens could be a trigger especially for those who ordinarily suffer from allergies.

does that mean that those that are episodic (like my son) are getting hit this spring/month (like my son) .. whos had quite a few this month ?

Well not all episodics are being hit in the springtime - I've been so lucky not to have experienced strong pollen allergies in my life so far, and over the decades my episodic cycle start ups have probably occurred in every month of the calendar, with spring months not being any more likely than other months. The pollen is thickly blanketing all outdoor surfaces here right now, and no signs of a cycle for me. Knock on a wooden nickel.

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Thanks Cassidy and Bob, 

I've been PF for over 2 years (preventative dosing).  My CH just came back 2 weeks ago also.  I can say for certain my CH didn't come back because of anything other than something I did (I suspected I shouldn't have done >:().  I'm going to start a separate thread with the ole, who, what when, where, why and how (of my mess up)...  Basically I 'unbusted' myself with a dr scripted drug... grrr (but 100% my own fault).

Cassidy, I concur with your assessment that the medicine (mm) does loose potency.  I've been preventative dosing with mm obtained fresh 3 years ago (every 60 days for the last 3 years).  The MM was cracker dried, put in capsules, with desiccant and stored in a double Ziploc bag in the freezer.  I'm pretty sure it's been loosing potency.  Each dose seemed a little weaker than the one before.  The last year I've been bumping up the dose a little each month.  I can definitely tell it's weaker now, even with a 50% higher dose.  Interesting note, I'm also getting more anxiety with the 'weak' doses.

More on my mess later.  ;)  Love all,


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Weak doses set me back on my preventative regiment.  Often times I will have to hit it again if I dose to low.  It is also a far worse experience!  I can only imagine how much worse it must be for a first timer.  Edgy and paranoid versus Happy and trippy. 

PF thoughts to all!

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