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.
It has often been observed that hive causes also include allergic reactions. If you are sensitive to any type of food item, medication, plant, insect bite, etc. You may experience itching on the skin. Although if the itching is followed by symptoms like:
One should immediately consult a healthcare advisor as it can be due to a serious allergic reaction.
It is advisable to keep your hands off your body if you feel like itching as Hives can flare up and spread further if you scratch the irritated area. Try to put moisturizer or cold compress to soothe the itching, but do not scratch it.
Yes, during the night our body defense mechanism lowers its pace making the itching worse. The secretion of natural anti-itch chemicals is lower during sleep time.
Hives are diagnosed by performing routine blood tests and skin tests. This is usually performed under the supervision of a certified gynecologist.
Hives are generally not a life-threatening disease, although they can cause severe damage to the body if not taken care of. In most cases, Hives do not have any other symptoms except the uncontrollable itch, but one should seek medical care in case it shows the following signs:
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.
Home remedies are known to have instant effects on the skin of an individual. In the case of Hives, most of the time home remedies will treat the unbearable itchy skin. Here are some of the things you can try at home:
In the case of acute Hives, the symptoms may last for only a couple of days or maybe a week. They started to fade on their own as they came. This can be due to any seasonal viral or mild allergic reaction.
In the case of chronic Hives or chronic urticaria, the itching can last up to six weeks or more. It is quite rare as it is not associated with any underlying medical condition.
There is no specific food item that can cause itching. But if you are allergic to any consumables then that case it can trigger Hives. Allergies to food items like dairy, seafood, nuts, poultry products, etc. can cause episodes of itching.
Yes, baking soda is a natural antiseptic that is commonly used amongst people to cure skin allergies. In the case of Hives, one can use it in bath water or moisturizer to soothe the skin in case of a flare-up. Use it with cold water for effective results.
Summary: Hives can be described as an uncontrollable sensation of itching on the skin. It can be due to an allergic reaction or an underlying medical condition. It is not a serious condition until followed by any other signs.