Diseases & Conditions


HivesCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Hives?

Hives or urticaria are red, itchy, raised skin portions that makes it presence felt in wide variety of shapes and sizes. Another important thing to note about hives is that it can happen anywhere on the body.

Causes of Hives

Histamine is the main reason responsible for urticaria. Talking about histamine, it is released from cells known as mast cells, which are a normal skin portion. Because of histamine, there is a leakage of fluid from the local blood vessels, causing skin swelling.

Hives can be annoying but you cannot term it as serious. They normally go away on their own in fifteen to twenty days. Plenty of hives are caused by allergies to things like foods and medications.

Medications for Hives

Over the counter medications, topical medications and corticosteroids can be quite effective in the treatment of hives. Talking about over the counter medication, benadryl is quite a good option. However, it may cause side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness. Do not operate any heavy equipment or drive your car after taking the dose of benadryl. There are number of topical creams available in the market that can give you relief from the urticaria.

Corticosteroids are generally used in complicated hives cases. Corticosteroids may be prescribed either by injection or orally. The best part about corticosteroids is that they will minimize the redness and swelling quite fast. Some of the common side effects associated with corticosteroids are mood swings, high blood pressure and weight gain.

Prevention of Hives

With regard to prevention, make sure that you stay away from substances that can cause symptoms of hives to arise. Do not eat shellfish and mushrooms as it can cause hives. If you are of the opinion that medication might be responsible for your urticaria, talk to your health care provider immediately. Take the advice of your health care provider first before stop taking any prescription medication. There are plants that can cause hives. It includes poison ivy and poison oak. Lots of individuals are allergic to cats and dogs. If you have recently modified your soap, it may be the reason for your hives.

Risk factors of Hives

You are more prone to hives if you have a past record of it. Individuals suffering from other allergic reactions such as lupus and thyroid disease are also at a much greater risk for hives. The worse thing about urticaria is that it always causes discomfort and itching. In more complicated cases, there is always a possibility that you may experience difficulty in breathing and also lose consciousness. This kind of situation occurs when there is swelling inside your mouth. If possible, take the services of a dermatologist or an allergy specialist. Write down the symptoms in your notebook so that you can tell allergy specialist what the exact situation is.

Symptoms of Hives

Some of the common symptoms of hives are mentioned below:

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Can quickly modify location, size and shape

Treatment for Hives

The objective of treating most hives cases is to give you relief from the symptoms as the condition fades away on its own. Oral treatments are quite effective in this regard. One such treatment is antihistamines, which plays a pivotal role in opposing the histamine effects leaked by mast cells.

Types of Hives

There are two types of hives:

  • Ordinary hives: Ordinary hives occur all of a sudden in number of places. In some cases, it only last for just three to five minutes. If hives last for more than thirty days, it is known as chronic.
  • Physical hives: Physical hives occur because of direct physical skin stimulation. The most common form of physical hives is dermographia.