Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Hives Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Hives are tiny red raised rashes that can be extremely itchy. The rashes are filled with a little amount of fluid coming from leaking blood vessels directly underneath the surface of the skin.
Hives usually appear on one part of the body alone. But the rash can also spread to larger skin areas.
Hives infection can be categorized into two:
- Acute urticaria– Characterized by rashes that completely go away after six weeks. Statistically, one out of five people can get acute urticaria at any time of their lives.
- Chronic urticaria– A type of rare hives with rashes that last more than six weeks up to years. This skin condition usually affects only one person out of 100.
Hives: Causes and Symptoms
Hives are characterized by tiny spots and patches of skin that are either red, pink, or white in colour. These initial rashes will clear after a few hours, only to be replaced by new patches. The rashes are accompanied by swelling of the affected body parts, with pain, itch, and burning sensations. Hands and feet also swell in reaction to the rashes.
Triggering factors such as infections, allergens, drugs, exercise, heat, and other irritants are known to cause acute urticaria. The rashes commence when histamine and other similar body chemicals get released in the skin. All these chemicals tell the tiny blood vessels underneath the skin to open. The vessels then leak fluid eventually into the affected skin area, creating tiny reddish-pink rashes that are itchy and uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, chronic urticaria works by a different pathology. This skin condition is directly associated with other illnesses, examples of which are autoimmune disorders. Chronic urticaria happens when the immune system mistakes healthy cells and tissues as harmful and attacks them as a result.
Possible additional triggers to hives include the following:
- A huge amount of emotional stress
- Elevated body temperatures, like what you get when you enter a sauna
- Consuming caffeine and alcohol products
How Long Do Hives Last?
Symptoms of common hives usually last for 8-12 hours and rarely last for a full day. In worse but rare cases, hives symptoms persist for a few more days or months.
Hives usually flare up when a person is exposed to triggering factors. Symptoms might occur at one time, disappear at the next, then come back quickly or slowly depending on the exposure to triggering factors. It may take months or years for symptoms to fully clear up.
Serious symptoms worthy of a medical emergency can come up due to hives. Be mindful of the following symptoms and seek immediate emergency care if you experience the following:
- Trouble breathing or a severe tightness in the chest
- Swelling of the tongue and throat
The two main hives categories have different treatment plans:
For acute urticaria: Usually, no treatment is needed since the condition is mild and self-containing. Persistent acute urticaria or worsened symptoms may require prescription corticosteroids and antihistamines to manage the condition.
For chronic urticaria: Prescription medication is needed to safely and successfully manage the symptoms of chronic urticaria. Corticosteroids and antihistamines are typically given, alongside menthol creams that help stop the itchiness of the rashes.
Other possible treatment plans for long-term hives bouts include:
- Avoiding contact with triggering factors as much as possible
- Meditation, and other similar relaxation techniques
- Diet modifications. Hives patients are advised to consume more tomatoes, yoghurt, strawberry, spinach, and fish. But this may be a case-to-case basis, depending on what works well for an individual hives patient.
You can always enlist the help of Mobidoctor to assist you in identifying what kind of hives you are experiencing. Our physicians are available to diagnose the condition of your hives, find out your triggering factors, and provide medical advice as well as prescription medications to treat your skin condition.
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