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Overview

Hives - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

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.

Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Symptoms
Extremely itchy bumps Skin colored or red bumps Blanching (while pressing the hives, a red hive becomes white)

Popular Health Tips

Urticaria (Hives): What Should You Know About It?

Dr. Rupa Shah 91% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD-SKIN
Dermatologist, Ahmedabad
Urticaria (Hives):  What Should You Know About It?
Hives are a common allergic reaction that appears in the form of swollen, red bumps or patches on the skin. These usually appear suddenly and cause itchiness. In some cases, it may also sting or burn. Hives can affect any part of the body including the face, ears, tongue, lips and throat. Hives are usually small in size but may grow as large as the size of a dinner plate. In some cases, hives may also join together to form plaques. Hives are caused as a result of the production of histamines in the body that make plasma leak out of blood vessels in the skin. These histamines are released as a result of an allergic reaction, exposure to chemicals, insect bites, sunlight or adverse reactions to certain medicines. There are four main types of hives: Acute Urticaria: These hives usually last for less than 6 weeks. They are triggered by insect bites, allergic reactions to food, latex, medicines or by exposure to infections. The most common food items that trigger this type of hives are chocolates, nuts, fish, tomatoes, eggs, soy, wheat and milk. Aspirin and other medicines like ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors and codeine can also trigger these hives. Chronic Urticaria: Hives that last for longer than 6 weeks fall into the category of chronic urticaria. IT is harder to find what triggers a case of chronic urticaria than it is for acute urticaria. Along with the triggers mentioned above, hormonal disorders, tumours, chronic infections and immune system disorders can also trigger these hives. Physical Urticaria: Hives caused as a result of physically stimulating skin are called physical urticaria. This includes sudden exposure to heat or cold, sunlight, vibrations, pressure, exercise etc. These hives usually resolve themselves within an hour and only affect the part of the skin that has been stimulated. Dermatographism: Hives caused by scratching or firmly stroking the skin fall under this fourth category. Hives can also be genetic in nature. Some people suffer from hereditary angioedema which is a painful swelling under the skin. Hives caused by an allergic reaction can recur and hence if you suffer from hives you should try and identify the allergen. This can be done by taking an allergen test in a hospital or by changing aspects of your diet and studying the results. Hives are usually treated with antihistamines but in some cases, steroids may also be needed. However, it is usually nothing to worry about.
2824 people found this helpful

Hives - Here Are The 7 Most Common Reasons!

Dr. Anuj Saigal 88% (10 ratings)
MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy, MBBS
Dermatologist, Delhi
Hives - Here Are The 7 Most Common Reasons!
Hives or urticaria is an outbreak of reddish swollen bumps around the skin surface, formed mainly due to the body s response to particular allergens. Generally, the infectious bumps are of varied shapes and sizes and last for about 5-6 weeks. Although not a serious medical condition, hives can cause tremendous discomfort to the concerned person and affect his/her daily activities. Hives can be cured with a prescribed dosage of antihistamines or oral corticosteroids. Causes of hives Although the exact reason behind their formation is still unknown, researchers suggest that this disorder occurs as a response to involuntary histamine release by the skin blood vessels (that in turn, causes a leakage of blood plasma). Some other factors that can be responsible are: Hives can occur due to insect or parasite bites. Hives can also result as a side effect of painkillers such as codeine and other anti- inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or ACE inhibitors. Excessive exposure to sunlight or high levels of stress (leading to high cortisol levels in the body) can also result in hives. Intense scratching around the same spot can also result to hive formation. Excessive alcohol intake can render you even more vulnerable to this disease. Excessive intake of foods such as eggs, fish, nuts, chocolate and berries might also cause hives. Additionally, excessive consumption of certain food preservatives can also trigger the release of histamine. Suffering from serious underlying medical conditions such as cancer, hepatitis or thyroid disorders can make you prone to chronic cases of hives (which might last for more than 6 weeks). Symptoms of hives The symptoms of hives include, but are not limited to: Appearances of several reddish welts around the face or arms which might cause a severe itchy sensation. Painful and abnormal swelling around the mouth You might also feel tightness in your chest along with recurring bouts of dizziness. If not treated promptly after diagnosis, hives might result in life-threatening allergic reactions, such as Anaphylaxis (narrowing down of the bronchial tubes, thus causing significant breathing trouble) and auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
4961 people found this helpful

Hives - What Are The Factors Behind It?

Dr. Aanchal Jain 86% (22 ratings)
BHMS
Homeopath, Pune
Hives - What Are The Factors Behind It?
Hives or urticaria can be defined as an outbreak of reddish swollen bumps on the skin surface. This happens because of the body s response to involuntary histamine release by the skin s blood vessels (which in turn, cause a leakage of blood plasma). The infection generally lasts for about 5-6 weeks, varying significantly in sizes and shapes. Although it is not a serious medical condition, hives can posit considerable discomfort to the affected person (coupled with severe itching and a constant burning sensation near the spot). Although the exact reason behind the development of this condition is still unknown, researchers suggest that there are some factors that initiate the disorder. Hives can occur as a result of insect or parasite bites. In some cases, this disorder might occur as a side effect of painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Excessive intake of alcohol or foods rich in proteins such as eggs, fish, nuts, chocolate, berries etc. might also cause hives. Excessive exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun or high levels of stress can also result in hives. Also, suffering from serious underlying medical conditions such as cancer, hepatitis or thyroid disorders might drastically aggravate chances of chronic hives as well. Symptoms Development of numerous reddish welts around the face or the arms along with a severe itchy sensation, recurrent feeling of tightness around the chest and constant dizziness. Oral inflammation If not treated immediately after diagnosis, this disorder might cause life- threatening allergic reactions such as Anaphylaxis (a condition which narrows down the bronchial tubes and causes significant breathing troubles) and auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The homeopathic preparations useful for treating hives have been mentioned below: Apis mellifica: This medication works best for a case of hives that has resulted from insect or parasite bites. Other symptoms that are taken care of by this medication include severe itching and a stinging sensation that worsens at night or with exposure to cold, coupled with mild fever. Arsenicum album: This homeopathic preparation is effective to cure hives that include symptoms of a burning sensation, abnormal swelling, and constant restlessness. Ichthyolum and Astacus: This preparation is effective to cure chronic hives caused due to serious medical conditions such as uric acid, tuberculosis, or excessive alcohol consumption. People suffering from this particular type exhibit symptoms such as a large appetite, irritability, and a constant itchiness.
4847 people found this helpful

Schnitzler Syndrome - Things You Must Know About It!

Dr. Manju Keshari 91% (47 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Ghaziabad
Schnitzler Syndrome - Things You Must Know About It!
Schnitzler s syndrome is a very rare condition described by a reddish rash that looks like hives (urticaria) and lifted levels of a particular protein in the blood (monoclonal IgM gammopathy). Symptoms connected with the Schnitzler disorder may include increased levels of fever, joint inflammation, joint pain (arthralgia), bone agony, and different discoveries, for example, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). It also causes weight reduction, discomfort, exhaustion, and broadened spleen and liver. This condition should be treated in terms of taking care of the symptoms so that they do not become debilitating. Some of the other symptoms include the following: Urticaria (hives) depicts red raised patches of the skin. These are once in a while irritated. They may last for about 12 hours to 3 days. This may become severely painful if not treated in time. 80% of such patients suffer from painful or swollen. A few patients experience bone pain as well. High fever might be there accompanied by chills and night sweating. This can give rise to further uneasiness and is usually caused when the immune system is attacked by the ailment. One of the main symptoms of the Schnitzler disorder is monoclonal gammopathy. This mostly means a raised level of immunoglobulin M (IgM) Reasons behind it The main cause behind the Schnitzler syndrome is unknown. Specialists believe that particular parts of the immune system may not work appropriately in the end because of the Schnitzler syndrome. Individuals with the Schnitzler disorder additionally have monoclonal IgM gammopathy, in which abnormal production of immunoglobins result in elevated levels of immunoglobulin M (IgM) in the body. Immunoglobulins are proteins delivered by the white blood cells. A few analysts believe that IgM antibodies accumulate in the skin (epidermis), setting off a reaction that causes the rash. At the time of diagnosis, IgM levels may just be somewhat raised and may stay stable for quite a long time. Diagnosis The diagnosis of the Schnitzler disorder is based upon an intensive clinical assessment, patient history, rejection of different other disorders and proof of fever, joint pain or aggravation, bone pain, discernible lymph nodes, amplification of the liver or spleen, lifted quantities of white platelets (leukocytosis), raised red platelet (erythrocyte) or anomalies, which can uncover expanded bone thickness (osteosclerosis). Treatment: Anakinra is a successful treatment for Schnitzler syndrome. It is also very commonly used to treat rheumatoid joint inflammation. The following medicines and therapies have been proven to be successful for treating the Schnitzler disorder over a period of time. These are as follows: Antihistamines Nonsteroidal calming specialists Systemic steroids (prednisone) Hydroxychloroquine Colchicine Dapsone Pamidronate Thalidomide Pefloxacin Phototherapy Immunosuppressive specialists (ciclosporin, methotrexate, cycloposphamide) Biologic specialists (tocilizumab, rituximab) The Schnitzler disorder is a long-term infection, so stopping a promising treatment can tend to cause a relapse and may cause the disease to reappear. Also, the medicines mentioned above should not be taken without consulting a doctor as they can have sever side effects, if not administered under the guidance of a physician.
494 people found this helpful

Hives: What is It? How to Treat It?

Dr. Vikas Shankar 87% (27 ratings)
MD - Skin,VD & Leprosy, MBBS
Dermatologist, Patna
Hives: What is It? How to Treat It?
Hives is also known as Urticaria, which is a sudden outbreak of swollen, red bumps on the skin. These occur due to an allergic reaction to an allergen or some unknown reasons. These bumps are usually accompanied by a few common symptoms like redness, burning sensation, itchiness, inflammation and swelling. They can be of varied shapes and most often the larger ones are very painful. Your skin gets badly affected by hives and the itchiness is quite irritating. Few facts about hives - Prominent symptoms: Hives occur due to allergic reactions and some of the most highlighting symptoms are trouble in breathing, swelling, stomach cramps, dizziness and other related ones. People facing these kinds of symptoms are mainly kept in an emergency room so that proper care can be taken. - Lasting period of hives: In general, the symptoms of hives fade away within a few hours, and just few scratches are left behind. Though in some cases hives return either for few weeks or days. Some people experience the symptoms after specific intervals and thus you got to have proper medical care. - Causes of hives: Some of the commonest causes of hives are medicines, excessive exercises, serious or rare diseases, cold, heat or pressure, insect bites or stings, different kinds of allergies especially food allergies, bladder or other infections and others. Sometimes, hives might occur all of a sudden without any specific reason. - Who gets hives: Both adults and kids of different ages can have hives at any time. Thus, you should be aware fully of the same in order to prevent this kind of skin disease. Though the symptoms last maximum for six months but still the sufferings are unbearable at times. - Diagnosis of hives: Hives can now be easily detected by doctors just by looking at the available symptoms and thus no special kind of diagnosis is required. Physical examination is conducted and the doctor often asks a few questions from the patients. If the symptoms continue for a long time then in that case blood tests are also recommended by the doctor. The doctor might recommend any other medical test in this regard in accordance with the patient's condition. - Treating hives: The doctors often prescribe antihistamines to the patients who suffer from hives. The sources causing hives are asked to be avoided so that the chances of getting attacked by this kind of skin trouble can be reduced. Doctors keep the patients under supervision and then accordingly prescribe medicines for a speedy recovery.
3873 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Am suffering from hives please give me a best way to get rid of it I can't handle this thing anymore. Swollen skin on forehead, arms,stomach basically all over the body. Please help.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 97% (8879 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
It can be permanently cured by Homoeopathy.. But you have to consult and take proper treatment.. You can consult me through lybrate.

Hello Doctor, I am 45 years old Female, I am suffering from Urticaria (शीत पीत) since 10-12 years, Can you suggest anything.

Dr. L.A Dongarwar 91% (219 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda
Ayurveda, Thane
This would not be a simple Urticaria but would be Allergic Urticaria. Please go for Allergy skin scratching Test. While consulting to Allergy specialist. Hopefully you will find out better solution.

I am suffering from chronic idiopathic urticaria since 3 months. Please suggest permanent treatment.

Dr. S.K. Tandon 94% (15908 ratings)
M.D. Consultant Pathologist, CCEBDM Diabetes, PGDS Sexology USA, CCMTD Thyroid, ACDMC Heart Disease, CCMH Hypertension, ECG
Sexologist, Sri Ganganagar
Check allergy test. Depending upon results please avoid all allergens. Take tab. Levokast twice daily.
1 person found this helpful

I am suffering from allergy and this allergy called hives. Please tell me about precautions causes treatment about hives allergy.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 97% (8879 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Precautions is don't take steroids or any random medicines... There are very rare chances that you can avoid an allergen that is causing this allergy... And the only solution is to cure your body's tendency to react to this allergens.. and it can be done by homoeopathic treatment... but it is not possible to give you treatment here.. you have to consult ....and provide all the details about your symptoms.. on which we can select an effective medicine....

Health Quizzes

Get Rid Of Hives With These Effective Tips!

Dr. Nitin Jain 90% (248 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD), DDV, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Pune
Reducing stress is helpful in getting rid of hives. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
Start Quiz
4 people took this quiz

Treating Skin Allergies

MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Visakhapatnam
Hives is not a type of treatable skin allergy. True or False?
Start Quiz
2939 people took this quiz

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