Most People With Hives Do Not Need Tests
Tests are sometimes done when hives go on for long periods, or when unusual symptoms are occurring around the same time. This is to exclude other diseases, which may appear as hives first, and other conditions later. If hives are associated with high fever, bruising, bleeding into the skin, purple lumps that last for several days, or sore joints, a doctors appointment should be arranged promptly.
Allergy testing is performed when the history suggests an allergic cause.
Color Or Texture Changes
Changes in a dogs skin color or coat texture can be a warning sign of several common metabolic or hormone problems. They can also result from an infection or other skin disorder. Usually a simple blood test can identify the underlying cause. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about any significant changes to your dogâs coat.
How Can I Prevent Hives And Swelling
Allergy tests can help your healthcare provider figure out which substances bring on hives and swelling. Once you know your triggers, you can avoid them. You may want to:
- Cut certain foods or liquids out of your diet.
- Reduce exposure to airborne allergens.
- Switch to detergents and soaps without scents or dyes.
- Avoid extreme changes in temperature.
- Relax and take a break when youre stressed or overworked.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
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Are Any Tests Needed
Usually no tests are needed. The rash is very typical and is easily recognised as hives by doctors. In many cases you will know what caused the rash from the events leading up to it. For example if you have just been put on a new medicine, or if your skin came into contact with a nettle, or if you were stung by a bee.
Hives Are Very Common In Kids Too Heres How To Manage Them
Parents should know that given the high incidence of hives in kids, its likely theyll see hives on their child at least once. But dont panic. Acute urticaria is more common in the young , says Meghan Feely, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New York City and New Jersey and a clinical instructor in the Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology in New York City.
Numerous triggers and allergens can cause hives in kids, but food in particular is a common one for kids, especially if theyre allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, or soy. You may not even know theyre allergic to something until their first hive appears, especially if its accompanied by an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which requires emergency care.
Fortunately, most hives in kids can be treated at home with over-the-counter medication, and most hives in kids go away without much need to do anything. But if the hives continue, youll want to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician, who may request food allergy testing. Just make sure youre taking good notes about the hive incidents, which will help the doctor treat and manage the issue.
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What Is Rashes And Hives
Urticaria is considered to be relatively uncommon in dogs. Any breed can be affected although dogs with short or light colored hair are more likely to be diagnosed. Urticaria is usually not of grave concern for pet owners. Most commonly, the allergen can be identified and avoided and the symptoms thereby can be effectively managed. In rare cases, if there is swelling in the mouth or airways the dog will need immediate veterinary care to avoid suffocation.
Urticaria is the dogs immune system response to contact with a chemical or allergen that results in red, itchy, patches or sometimes bumps on the skin.
Rashes and Hives Average Cost
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Hives Vs Other Skin Bumps
Dogs can develop many different types skin lumps or bumps that can look similar to hives. It is important to remember that these are different things though. Skin lumps and bumps will not appear or disappear as quickly as hives can and are usually not found in groupings. As previously mentioned, dogs do not get just one hive, but lumps often appear by themselves. If you have any concerns about a lesion on your dogs skin, have it checked out by your veterinarian.
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How To Soothe Hives
While hives are most commonly not severe or harmful, we know they can be irritating and uncomfortable. A doctor can provide treatments to prevent the hives from recurring however, there are at-home remedies to try to soothe hives immediately.
First and foremost, dont scratch your itch! Hives can be extremely itchy, and the natural instinct would be to scratch the area that is bothering you. But scratching hives can make them more inflamed and cause them to spread.
Instead, try these tips to soothe your skin and find relief from itchy hives:
Use a Cold Compress
Apply a cold compress to the affected area. This could be a bag of frozen peas, an ice pack, or simply soaking a washcloth in cold water. The cool temperature will relieve some of the inflammation you are experiencing by numbing the area and soothing the skin.
Avoid Anything That May Trigger a Reaction
Try to keep away from natural triggers such as pollen or pet dander. It is also a good idea to avoid contact with latex.
Take a Lukewarm Bath
Hot water can be extremely irritating to the skin, but you can add various products to a bath to help relieve an itching sensation. Sprinkle in some baking soda and colloidal oatmeal for a soothing effect.
Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and forms a protective barrier on your skin, holding in moisture and easing inflammation. It is found in many moisturizers, shampoos, and cleansers that are beneficial for people with sensitive skin.
Wear Lightweight Clothing
Signs And Symptoms Of Hives
Hives, formally known in the medical community as urticaria, usually appear as red or skin-colored bumps or welts that have defined edges. They can be as small as a pen tip or as large as a dinner plate, and when you press the center of a hive thats red, it can turn white, something referred to as blanching. They can appear as one hive or show up as blotches or connected patches. And they show up to help control the bodys allergic response to certain triggers.
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What Are The Main Treatments For Hives
Antihistamines are a type of over-the-counter medication that attempt to manage the symptoms of itching and mild swelling. Antihistamines like loratadine or diphenhydramine can be taken by mouth or applied directly on the skin surface. A cool moist compress can provide comfort and reduce swelling. Additional treatment may include oral and topical steroids, a more potent anti-inflammatory agent to decrease the bodys inflammatory response and manage the allergic symptoms.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hives, it is important to have the symptoms discussed with a health care provider to determine the cause so that future allergic reaction risk and injury can be reduced.
What Are The Complications Of Hives And Swelling
Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction could have life-threatening swelling of the airways your throat and lungs. This condition is known as anaphylaxis. It can potentially close off the airways, resulting in death.
Anaphylaxis is often triggered by a severe allergic reaction to a certain food, like peanuts and tree nuts, or a bee sting. People having anaphylaxis need an immediate shot of epinephrine, such as injectable epinephrine . Epinephrine opens airways, raises blood pressure and reduces hives and swelling. If epinephrine is used outside of the medical setting, a trip to the ER is warranted, since symptoms can return if epinephrine wears off.
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Causes Of Widespread Hives
- Viral Infection. The most common cause of hives all over the body is viral infections. Research has confirmed this. Other symptoms such as a fever, cough or diarrhea are also present. The hives may last 3 days. This is not an allergy.
- Bacterial Infection. Some bacterial infections can also cause hives. A common example is Strep. Hives are also seen with bladder infections.
- Drug Reaction. An example is a penicillin rash. Most rashes that start while taking an antibiotic are viral rashes. Allergy tests are normal 90% of the time. Only 10% turn out to be a drug allergy.
- Food Reaction. May be an allergy or a coincidence. If the food is a high risk one , consult an allergist. Hives from foods usually resolve in 6 hours. Hives from infections last for days. Only 3% of hives are due to a food.
- Bee Sting. Widespread hives after a sting may be part of a serious allergic reaction. Need to consult an allergist.
- Anaphylactic Reaction . The sudden onset of hives with trouble breathing or swallowing. This is a severe allergic reaction to an allergic food or drug. Most often begins within 30 minutes of swallowing the substance. Always within 2 hours of exposure.
- Unknown. Over 30% of the time, the cause of hives is not found.
What Are The Symptoms Of Body Hives
Body hives offer the same symptoms of all other types of hives: itching and red raised spots on different areas of the body. Body hives can have pain in some instances, and others will feel a burning or prickly sensation. These are normal hives symptoms that can be treated at home in most cases with the right treatment.
Body hives can be found on any area of the body localized, such as hives on face, or on the entire body in more severe cases. If you have ever had body hives, you know most doctors simply offer anti-histamine medications or steroids for more severe cases. However, there are over the counter medications such as OxyHives that have proven very effective.
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What Causes Hives And Swelling
Allergens can causes these reactions. An allergen is a substance your body doesnt like, and your bodys immune system reacts by releasing chemicals called histamines. Histamines are a chemical made by allergy cells and other immune cells that goes into overdrive to get rid of the allergen. But your body may respond to the flood of histamines by having an allergic reaction that causes hives and swelling.
People get hives and angioedema from all kinds of things, including:
Make Sure The Allergic Reaction Wont Turn From Irritating To Tragic
Once youâve figured out that your dog has hives there are a few things that can be done. Just like in humans the applications of antihistamines and lotions can help alleviate the allergic symptoms associated with hives. The swelling, itchiness, and redness can all be reduced. You can get a variety of different ointments and care products for your dogs skin. This can be particularly helpful after you have discovered that your pet has an allergy, but doesnât have any more serious allergic symptoms.
However, for pet owners who are seeing symptoms for the first time, the lotions and antihistamines are all well and good, but theyâre no substitute for a medical opinion. As was mentioned earlier, hives are just one potential symptom of an allergic reaction. And can be an indication that more serious symptoms will be on the way. If you are noticing hives or any other allergic reaction in your dog for the first time get them to a vet as soon as you can. Once youâve identified that the allergy wonât ever be any more serious than hives and itchy skin, the lotions and ointments will be all you need. But until you are sure the allergic reaction wonât get any more serious donât tame the chance with your canine confidants health and wellbeing.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
Hives and swelling typically get better without treatment. Call your healthcare provider if you have:
- Hives or swelling that last more than a week.
- Infected-looking bumps .
- Recurring hives that come back every few months.
- Severe itching.
- Signs of anaphylaxis, including wheezing, shortness of breath or vomiting.
- Swollen lips or eyes.
Favorite Online Community For Support
This site brings together people with chronic spontaneous urticaria, which is a term that describes chronic hives with no explanation for whats causing them. The site has information about the condition, videos from people sharing their experience with hives, and The Hive, which allows people to send virtual support for people battling the condition.
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When To See A Doctor
The discussion above outlines various causes of itchy bumps all over body. Antihistamines are the initial treatment for itchy bumps. However, if the redness, itchiness and irritation persist, seek medical attention from your doctor. Your doctor will prescribe a more effective treatment for the itchy bumps.
What Is The Outlook
Inducible urticaria most commonly occurs in healthy young adults. You can have two or more different types of hives at the same time. As a rule, hives triggered by physical stimuli tend to improve and become less troublesome with time .
Acute hives usually last less than six weeks. Most cases last 24-48 hours and in some cases the rash only lasts a few hours.
Persistent hives tend to come and go. You may have times when the rash appears on most days, and then times when the rash may go away for a while. The severity of the rash and itch varies from person to person. Some things such as heat, cold, menstrual periods, stress, or emotion may make the rash flare up worse than usual.
- Symptoms may go away completely after a few months however, the condition lasts several years in some cases.
- In about half of cases, symptoms go within 3-5 years after the condition first starts.
- In about 1 in 5 cases the symptoms persist on and off for more than 10 years.
Further reading and references
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Infection Or Medical Treatment Can Trigger Hives
Some people get hives when they develop an infection like strep throat, a urinary tract infection, or COVID-19.
Others get hives when they have a medical treatment like radiation therapy or a blood transfusion.
Hives was the first sign of COVID-19 for this girl
A few days after getting hives, this 5-year-old girl began to develop the more common symptoms of COVID-19 like fever and a cough.
Hives due to radiation therapy
This medical treatment can be lifesaving but hard on your skin. If your body releases histamine to protect itself, hives can develop.
Treatment And Medication Options For Hives
How you treat hives depends on how many youve had and how long youve been suffering. If you have one hive that goes away within 24 hours and youre not having any breathing issues, you probably dont need medical attention. Instead, you might take a nonsedating, over-the-counter antihistamine like loratadine/pseudoephedrine , fexofenadine , or cetirizine to ward off a second one from occurring, Friedman says.
If you do get a second hive, taking one of these antihistamines should be your first defense. Its more about prevention or active treatment, Friedman says.
If a single hive lasts for longer than 24 hours or is more painful than itchy, or if hives continue to come and go for six weeks or more, its time to visit a dermatologist. You can always start with your general physician to get a referral, but because dermatologists are skilled at dealing with hives, theyre your best bet for recommending the appropriate treatment, Rossi says. Dermatologists can also offer patch testing that can identify potential allergens that may cause hives when they come in contact with your skin.
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Hives Are Rarely Due To A Serious Underlying Disease
Whilst a clear cause of hives in not obvious in many cases, causes may include:
- Infection from a virus is the most common cause of hives in children, especially if they last for more than 24 hours.
- Contact allergy to plants or animals may cause localized hives.
- Allergic reactions to food, medicines or insect stings can appear as hives. They usually occur within one to two hours of exposure and disappear in most cases within six to eight hours.
An allergic cause for hives should be suspected if episodes are rare, short-lived and occur under specific circumstances, for example:
- Only when exercising.
- Always within two hours of a meal.
- When symptoms involving other organs occur around the same time, such as stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing or dizziness.
- If hives occur with swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing or low blood pressure, anaphylaxis should be suspected. Urgent administration of adrenaline and medical assessment is required. Information about anaphylaxis is available on the ASCIA website.
Ongoing hives lasting days at a time are almost never allergic in origin, with the exception of some cases of allergy to medicines. Stress is a very rarely the cause of hives but may make the symptoms worse.
In some people hives are caused by physical triggers, including cold , heat, sunlight , vibration, rubbing or scratching of the skin , and delayed pressure , stress, alcohol, spicy food or coffee may cause symptoms.
Some People Have Greater Risk Of Developing Any Type Of Hives
While anyone can develop hives, you have a greater risk if you:
Are a woman of African American heritage
Have atopic dermatitis
If you have long-lasting or widespread hives, seeing a dermatologist can help you feel more comfortable. Seeing a dermatologist is also a good idea to make sure that what you have really is hives.
Find out how dermatologists diagnose and treat hives at: Hives: Diagnosis and treatment.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Image 2: Images used with permission of JAAD Case Reports.
JAAD Case Reports 2021 11:137-8.
Image 3. Image used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
J Am Acad Dermatol 2006 5428-46.
ReferencesAntia C, Baquerizo K, et al. Urticaria: A comprehensive review: Epidemiology, diagnosis, and work-up. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 79:599-614.
Grattan CEH, Saini SS. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, China, 2018:304-19.
Hide M, Takahagi S, et al. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Kang S, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology. McGraw Hill Education, United States of America, 2019:684-785.
Hymes SR, Strom EA, et al. Radiation dermatitis: Clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and treatment. 2006. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 54:28-46.
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