Hives are also known by the name of urticaria, welts, nettle rash and wheals. They are a common cause of skin inflammation. Hives are red, raised and itchy rashes that often get instigated by something producing an allergic reaction- an allergen. When we find any allergic reaction, the body tends to release a protein named histamine.
When histamine is released the capillary leaks fluid, that accumulates in the skin and leads to a rash. The rash can appear on only one part of the body or across larger areas. If the affected area changes its color in 24 hours and the rash gets better in a few days or clears up in six weeks then it is termed as acute urticaria.
When the rash develops and come and go for more than six weeks, then this is chronic urticaria. The reaction due to allergies can be one of the causes of hives, but there are other causes of hives too.
What cause hives?
An allergic reaction trigger or causes hives. Possibly the ordinary things that can induce an allergic reaction are:
- Allergy shots
- Insect bite or sting
- Certain medicines
- Touching something that you are allergic to
- Foods such as milk, peanuts, shellfish, eggs and citrus fruits
Also read: Is Stress Suppressing Your Skin?
Some other causes of hives or urticaria
- Illnesses such as vasculitis, thyroid disease, and lupus
- Getting in contact with the chemicals
- Skin scratching
- Exposure to the sun, heat, water and cold
- Pressure on the skin from sitting for long
Symptoms of hives
Welts (bumps), which develops on the skin is one of the most noticeable symptoms of hives. Welts can be red in color or of the same color of the skin. Hives are itchy, and it usually appears in batches on the affected parts. They can go or come over the course of their outbreak. While you touch them, it could be painful, and the area can turn white too. Hives can occur in different parts of the body, where it can change its shape or color. If often the hives appear on areas like tongue, throat, followed by swelling then it is recommended you see a doctor immediately. The doctor would provide the best possible treatment for urticaria or hives.
Treatment for hives and essential preventive tips
Visiting a doctor is a vital step to prevent the occurrence of hives. As one of the common causes of hive is through the allergic reaction. So from mild to moderate cases the most common treatment is a non-sedating antihistamine. Antihistamines aim to relieve hive symptoms like itching. In the case of chronic hives, the doctors recommend an antihistamine.
Other drugs to control hives are as follows:
- Dapsone, an antibacterial
- Other medications that combat redness and swelling
In another case of hives, one may need an injection of epinephrine i.e. shot of adrenaline.
A little change in the lifestyle will help to prevent hives from occurring again.
- Try to remain distant from the factors that you know can cause allergy to you
- If you had a hives outbreak then try not to wear tight clothes as it may cause another outbreak
- Keep a check on your diet plan and avoid sweets that have sugar or alcohol. Do not eat incompatible foods, sour foods or heavy foods that are hard to digest.
- Do not prevent yourself from the urge to vomit
- Avoid any exposure to the wind, sleeping in the daytime and sunbathing
- Do not get indulged in excessive sex
The itchy areas on the skin are caused due to an allergic response, so the primary concern of one should be to increase the immunity of the body. Hives can be uncomfortable if it goes away on the own then is good. In the other case, if hives start to appear in the mouth or around eyes, then immediately visit your doctor and follow his instructions to avoid any significant problem in the near future.