Hives or urticaria is a sudden outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps and itchy rashes on the skin. It occurs due to the body’s reaction to specific allergens else the reason is unknown. It is also termed as welts, weals or nettle rash.
Usually, hives cause itchy skin and rare burn or sting sensation. They can appear anywhere on your body. They vary in size and might form larger plaques that last from hours days before fading.
Hives are not contagious and affect nearly 20% of people at a particular time in their life. There are two types of hives acute and chronic. Acute hives may disappear shortly, and chronic hives are long-term hives.
Causes Of Hives
During an allergic reaction, your body releases a protein called histamine. When histamine is released, the tiny blood vessels under the skin leak fluid and accumulates in the skin that results in a rash.
The exact cause is yet to know, some of the triggers and causes of hives include.
- Medications like antibiotics and NSAIDs etc.
- Certain foods like nuts, shellfish, eggs, food additives etc.
- Infections such as influenza, common cold etc.
- Intestinal parasites
- Extreme changes in temperature
- pet dander from dogs, cats, horses, dust mites etc.
- Latex, pollen, certain plants
- Insect bites and stings
- Certain chemicals
- sunlight exposure
- Exercise, stress
In some people, hives may develop just by touching certain items. Even specific illness can also cause hives.
Symptoms Of Hives
Signs and symptoms of hives include:
- Red or skin-coloured welts that appear anywhere on the body
- Itchy skin
- Painful swelling (angioedema)
- If you press in the centre of a red hive, it turns white
- Hives disappear and reappear anywhere on the body over short periods
The signs and symptoms of hives may persist for several days and sometimes for months or years in the case of chronic hives. If you notice symptoms like swelling in the throat or restricts breathing, then it requires immediate emergency care.
Treatment For Hives At Padma Clinic
The best treatment for hives is avoiding triggers and treating symptoms. Your doctor might suggest some medication or combination of drugs to treat hives.
Antihistamines such as cetirizine help to treat the effects of histamines. It reduces rashes and stops itching.
Initially, non drowsy antihistamines are prescribed by your doctor. If they don’t help you, he may increase the dose or give a drowsy type of medication, often taken at bedtime.
For severe urticaria, temporary treatment is provided with prednisone similar to corticosteroid drugs to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
If the reaction involves swelling of the tongue or lips or causing any breathing problems, then the doctor might give an epinephrine auto-injector like EpiPen in case of emergencies.