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Hives - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Hives? What causes hives? Diagnoses: Treatment:

What is Hives?

Hives are also known as Urticaria in medical terminology. It is characterized by an outbreak of pale red bumps and swollen wheals (plaques) on the skin. It is the body’s reaction against certain allergies for unknown reason.

Hives on the skin usually cause stinging or burning sensation. They can appear on any part of the body such as the ears, throat, tongue, lips and face. It usually varies in size from a dinner plate to a pencil eraser, sometimes they also join together to form plaques (larger area of hives). Angioedema is a form of hives which is characterized by swelling beneath the skin rather than the surface. Signs of angioedema include swelling around the lips, eyes, feet, hands and genitals. The swelling stays for a maximum of 24 hours after which it disappears.

Hives and angioedema on its own is not fatal, but it can block the airway passage of the lungs, tongue and throat making it difficult to breathe. This can be life threatening in some cases.

What causes hives?

  • Hives are generally caused due to allergic reactions resulting from sunlight exposure, insect stings, chemicals found in certain foods or medications which release a chemical called hisamine.
  • Acute urticaria (hives which last for more than six weeks) are caused due to the consumption of certain foods, infections, medications and insect bites.
  • The most common food products that cause hives are milk, berries, eggs, tomatoes, fish, chocolates and nuts. Some food additives also contribute in causing hives.
  • Angioedema and chronic urticaria are caused due to cancer, infection, hepatitis and thyroid diseases.
  • Physical urticaria is caused due to exercise, sweating, pressure, vibration, sun exposure, heat and cold.
  • > Drugs such as codeine, blood pressure drugs, ibuprofen and NSAIDs (Non anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause hives
  • Dermatoraphism is a form of hives which occurs by scratching or stroking the skin.

Diagnoses:

Hives are diagnosed by performing routine blood tests and skin tests. This is usually performed under the supervision of a certified gynecologist.

Treatment:

Angioedema and hives are usually treated with the help of antistamines, oral corticosteroids, biologic drugs, omalizumab (Xolair), epinephrine injections and cortisone medications. It is vital to seek medical help if you experience wheezing, dizziness, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest and swelling in the face, lips and tongue.

Applying wet clothes or cool compresses on the affected areas, working or sleeping in a cool room, wearing loose fitting clothes can provide comfort and reduce the symptoms of hives.

Popular Questions & Answers

I was advised by a dermatologist to use eberconazole and amorolfine creams near my private areas. I am having redness and itching. Is this the effects of the creams. Are the creams harmful?

Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (B.U.M.S)
Unani Specialist, Kanpur
If that doesn't work please follow these herbal combinations for complete cure sootshekhar ras 1 tablet twice a day gandhak rasayan avleh 10 gm twice a day.

Allergic reaction in form of hives all over the body and swollen lips today morning. Have taken allegra 180 mg for 3 days and I was normal. I'm taking support tablet for acne control now. Could this be the reason and what to do? My prescription for acne body and face: ketoconazole dandruff shampoo sebamed lip balm epiduo cream persolforte cream saferet tablet depiwhite cream.

DNB (Dermatology), MBBS, Diploma in Trichology - Cosmetology
Dermatologist, Hyderabad
Hi the problem which you are suffering is called acute urticaria with angioedema. Hives can be because of an allergic reaction to an external stimulus or internal causes. Potential trigger factors like infections like viral, bacterial etc, drugs, ...

Its been 15 days I can see small allergic rashes on my 11 month old baby tummy area. I gave him cetirizine syrup 2.5 ml for 3 days but no improvement. Kindly advice on the same.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Bhubaneswar
Dear lybrate-user this can be a simple allergic contact dermatitis. Avoid using soap and you can use olive oil or coconut oil every 4 hour. If it is not resolving, you can consult a dermatologist.

Sir I have fungal infection on my face and my treatment is going on. My doctor has suggested ketoconazole cream and fudic bnf cream which I am applying from past 3 months and I can't contact my doctor so it is not good to apply this cream for long term so can you tell me what should I do?

MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Jaipur
Fudic bnf cream must not be applied for such a long time. Besides, only ketoconazole cream alongwith oral antifungal would help you. Kindly share the picture of the lesion and consult online so that we are able to help you in a better manner. Rega...

Mam mere vigaina me regular khujli hota hi mi bahut preshan hu aur chota chota red red dana sa hota hi itch guard lgane se thik ho jata hi but fir ho jata hi.

MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Chennai
It's due to fungus or yeast infection. Common around skin folds like thighs and genitals. Avoid sweating, sharing clothes, towels and soap. Specific medicine required depends on the severity. For detailed prescription do direct online consultation...

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