Overview of Hives (Urticaria)
Hives are itchy welts and are a common allergic reaction. The most common treatment for hives is an antihistamine medication. They can be triggered by anything, from foods to medications.
- Hives, also known as urticarial, is an outbreak in pale bumps that appear out of nowhere, usually as a result of the body’s reaction to an allergen.
- Hives typically itch and burn where they appear.
- They can appear on the face, lips, tongue, throat, ears and everywhere else on your body and can also vary in size.
- They are typically temporary problems that can be easily fixed with allergy medication.
Symptoms of Hives (Urticaria)
Hives are described as red, itchy welts. They are typically oval or shaped like a worm. Most hives will go away within 24 hours or can last months.
Causes of Hives (Urticaria)
Hives can be triggered by a number of things. If you have an allergy to food, such as fish or nuts, then you may experience hives. Nearly any medication can cause a reaction, including aspirin or ibuprofen. Other common allergens, such as insect stings can cause a reaction. Environmental factors, other medical conditions or genetics can also be the cause of hives; it is not only related to the allergen.
Risk Factors of Hives (Urticaria)
You are at a higher risk for hives if you have had them before, if you have other various allergic reactions, have lupus or a thyroid disease, or have a family history of hives.
Angioedema, sometimes called “giant hives” are a severe case of hives. In these cases, you may need to go to the emergency room. The symptoms usually affect layers of skin and can be seen around eyes, cheeks or lips. Angioedema can appear separately or with hives. The welts are larger, and thicker than regular hives.
Prevention of Hives (Urticaria)
To prevent hives from occurring, you will want to avoid the allergen. If you are unsure of what the triggers are, then you will want to keep a diary to see what is causing the problem.
Diagnosis of Hives (Urticaria)
Your physician will want to check your medical history to see the causes of the reaction. To confirm the diagnosis, your allergist may recommend a skin test, so they can see what allergens are causing the reaction. If this is not able to be done, then they will recommend a blood test to see how the antibodies are reacting.
Treatment of Hives (Urticaria)
Oftentimes, the hives will clear up without treatment, but sometimes treatment is required. Anti-itch drugs are helpful in reducing itching on the skin, which will decrease your chances of getting an infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs will help with the redness and itching. Consult with your allergist to find out which treatment is best for you and your symptoms.