Other Ways To Get Relief From Hives
No matter the treatment course, avoid the urge to scratch the hives. You risk breaking the skin and getting an infection, Friedman says.
One of the best ways to relieve an itch is by using cold therapy . Use ice packs, a cool cloth, or a frozen bag of veggies like peas, or take a cool shower. Even better, stick a moisturizer in the fridge to cool it down, which will have a double-whammy effect against that itch, Rossi says.
Simply Scratching Your Skin Can Cause Hives
For a small percentage of the population,dermatographism, or skin writing can cause hive-like welts when you scratch, rub or apply pressure to your skin. Typically, there is an inappropriate release of histamine, which causes the hives to appear. If you’re experiencing this type of reaction, it’s best that you talk to your doctor about management and treatment.
What Are Hives Or Urticaria
Hives or urticaria are a type of rash consisting of itchy, swollen, red welts. The itching may be mild or severe. Foods, medications, infections, exercise, scratching, alcoholic beverages, emotional stress and many other factors may worsen hives. The condition affects an estimated 20 percent of the population at one time or another in their lives.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hives
The hallmark red raised welts are the main sign of hives. The welts can:
- have a pale center
- change shape and location in a matter of hours
- be tiny or as big as a dinner plate
- itch, sting, or cause a burning sensation
Someone who also has angioedema might have puffiness, blotchy redness, swelling, or large bumps around the eyes, lips, hands, feet, genitals, or throat. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, or belly pain.
Rarely, a person with hives and angioedema can also get anaphylactic shock. Signs of anaphylactic shock include breathing trouble, a drop in blood pressure, dizziness, or a loss of consciousness .
Common Questions & Answers
Whats important to know is that hives can affect anyone. While some people may carry a higher risk for hives, you can get them no matter your age or gender. Heres what you should know about the common condition, including why you get hives, how to deal with them if you do, and how to prevent them from coming again .
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Cholinergic Urticaria Causes And Risk Factors
CU is caused by nerve fibers in your sweat glands. Your skin reacts to the heat and sweat when your body temperature goes up.
You may get these hives when you:
Take a hot shower or bath
Work up a sweat from exercise
Are in a hot climate
Wear a tight, clingy bandage
Get nervous, have anxiety, or start to sweat
Eat hot or spicy foods
Are upset or angry
How Do I Get Rid Of Hives In Children
Most parents contact their pediatrician for medical advice . They may not know all the treatment options if they don’t specialize in hives outbreaks. Most will simply suggest an over the counter antihistamine, such as Children’s Benedryl. This does not cure the hives it simply helps alleviate the allergic reaction until the hives go away on their own. I recommend a nice soothing oatmeal bath in luke warm water for taking the edge off your child’s itch. My daughter loves to mush the oatmeal up in her hand, which almost completely takes her mind off the hives outbreak. NEVER give your child a hot bath as this will inflame the hives and make the itch even more.
When it comes to hives and children, there are few medications that are suggested simply because of how young they are. Our treatment page offers you information on one of the highest recommended medication available: OxyHives. This medication is now available without a prescription and will not simply mask the itch and redness like antihistamines do.
This over the counter medication has proven to be the hives cure that many people have searched for over the years. And I have yet to hear of somone with a child that minds taking the medication as it doesn’t have the awful taste most children’s medication do. OxyHives has no harmful side effects and you can use it as much as you need to.
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Potentially Serious Causes Of Hives
- Food allergies: Some common foods that can cause allergic reactions include nuts, milk, eggs, sesame, and seafood. These reactions can sometimes be severe and cause anaphylaxis, a serious condition requiring immediate medical treatment. Anaphylaxis can cause chest tightness, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and rapid heartbeat.
- Medication allergies: Antibiotics such as penicillin and sulfa drugs can cause hives, itching, wheezing, and swelling. Other common medications that can cause allergies include aspirin and ibuprofen. If the allergy is severe, it can cause anaphylaxis.
- Insect stings or bites: Insect bites can cause itching and bumps on your skin. Some stings, such as bee stings, can cause an allergic reaction that can be more serious. If you are allergic to bee venom, you may need to carry an epinephrine pen. An epinephrine pen can help decrease your symptoms if you are stung and potentially avoid an anaphylactic reaction.
- Blood transfusions: Receiving a blood transfusion can trigger an allergic reaction. If this happens, you may break out in itchy hives along with an elevated temperature, chills, and trouble breathing.
What Is Cholinergic Urticaria
Cholinergic urticaria is a reaction that results in tiny hives surrounded by large patches of red skin. Theyâre related to an increase in your body temperature. You can get itchy red hives on your skin for lots of reasons. The ones that break out when you’re sweaty from a workout, nervous, or just hot are called cholinergic urticaria .
It’s not clear what causes this condition. Some evidence suggests it may be due to the nervous system or from an allergic response to sweat.
You may be more likely to get these hives if you have eczema, asthma, or other allergies like hay fever, or if you get hives for other reasons, such as from certain foods or medications, pressure on your skin, or cold weather. Anyone can get cholinergic urticaria.
Some people with CU have only a mild case of the condition but others can get a serious or life-threatening version of the disease. Signs and symptoms of a serious case of CU include:
Hives all over your body
Swelling in the deeper layers of the skin often around the face and lips. If swelling causes your throat or tongue to block your airway, this can be life-threatening.
Bronchospasm. Your airways go into spasm and contract abnormally, making it difficult to breathe. You can also have wheezing or coughing.
Low blood pressure . Very low blood pressure can be life-threatening.
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What Are Children Hives
Hives in children are also called urticaria, but may are often simply referred to as welts. These welts are swollen areas on the surface of the child’s skin that can vary in size and location, but most of the time have well defined edges with a pale center and a reddish border. Children hives often cause itching, and can move from location to location on the child.
Hives and children go hand in hand, as your childs immune system is learning what a serious allergen is and what isn’t. That’s why hives in children are very commonly seen together – not just in your child but almost all children. Your child could have a small group of hives that goes away within 15 minutes or even a couple of hours, and then a few hours later reappears. It is possible for your child’s hives to stick around for months, which is often referred to as chronic hives.
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 Hives Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
If youve never experienced a bout of hives, consider yourself lucky. Roughly 20 percent of people do get hives at some point in their lives, making it a very common ailment. Hives can be a source of physical and mental anguish, especially if they appear frequently and continue happening for months or years.
What Causes Urticaria
Urticaria occurs when a trigger causes high levels of histamine and other chemical messengers to be released in the skin. These substances cause the blood vessels in the affected area of skin to open up and become leaky. This extra fluid in the tissues causes swelling and itchiness.
Histamine is released for many reasons, including:
- an allergic reaction like a food allergy or a reaction to an insect bite or sting
- cold or heat exposure
- certain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics
However, in many cases of urticaria, no obvious cause can be found.
Some cases of long-term urticaria may be caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. However, this is difficult to diagnose and the treatment options are the same.
Certain triggers may also make the symptoms worse. These include:
Read more about the causes of urticaria.
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When To See A Doctor
Many people struggle for years with vague or erratic symptoms before finally getting a diagnosis of lupus. Once you have been diagnosed with lupus, regular doctor visits are a must.
Managing lupus often entails having a team of doctors and nurses by your side.You may see a rheumatologist, who specializes in treating joint, soft tissue, and autoimmune diseases,or an immunologist versed in immune system disorders. Depending on your symptoms and complications, you may also see physicians who specialize in treating heart, kidney, lung, blood, hormone, skin, and nervous system issues.
You should see a doctor as soon as possible if your symptoms change or worsen, or if the medication your doctor prescribed isn’t making you feel better.See a doctor immediately if you have severe abdominal pain chest pain or shortness of breath seizures a new unexplained fever or high fever excess bruising or bleeding confusion or mood changes or a combination of symptoms, such as severe headache, stiff neck, and fever.
Stress Can Contribute To Hives Too
Stress can be a factor in hives, but its usually not an independent risk factor.
Stress usually isnt the direct cause, and primarily affects only individuals who are susceptible to hives, Friedman says. Both chronic and acute hives can be made worse by stress, especially in people more likely to get hives, such as women and people with autoimmune disorders.
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Favorite Resource To Find An Allergist
Generally, youll visit a primary care doctor first, but he or she may recommend you schedule an appointment with an allergist. The AAAAIs Find an Allergist tool can help you find an allergist or immunologist close to where you live.
How Are Hives Treated
The best treatment for hives is to find and remove the trigger, but this is not an easy task. Antihistamines are usually prescribed by your doctor to provide relief from symptoms. Antihistamines work best if taken on a regular schedule to prevent hives from forming in the first place.
Chronic hives may be treated with antihistamines or a combination of medications. When antihistamines don’t provide relief, oral steroids may be prescribed. A biologic drug, omalizumab , is also approved to treat chronic hives in people at least 12 years old.
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Im Not Sure Why I Keep Getting Hives
If you get itchy bumps on your skin, its usually because of bug bites or allergies. But some people get hives spontaneously and arent sure whats causing them. Dr. Tom Miller and Dr. Mark Eliason, a dermatologist, talk about hives and why we get them. Dr. Eliason describes how to treat minor hives at home, when to see doctor about them, and when you should run to the ER because of hives.
Dr. Miller: Hives, what are they? How do we get them? And what do we do about them? This is Dr. Tom Miller on Scope radio. We’re going to talk about that next.
Announcer: Medical news and research from University of Utah physicians and specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You’re listening to The Scope.
Dr. Miller: Hi, I’m here with Dr. Mark Eliason. And he is a professor of dermatology here at the University of Utah. And Mark is going to tell us a little bit about hives. What are hives? What’s a hive? I think of a beehive but I don’t know if that’s what a hive is.
What Does It Mean When You Break Out In Hives
Though they may be unsightly, hives can tell you important things about your body. Essentially, hives, or oddly-shaped reddish spots, appear when your body is allergic to something or your skin is aggravated in some way .
The most obvious culprit could be something that you have consumed, like shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, and berries, for example. This allergy to a particular food or beverage could be tricky to spot in some cases since some allergies do not present themselves until hours after the food in question is consumed. According to Health Magazine, an elimination diet can help you determine which food is causing the allergic reaction.
Spending time in the great outdoors could also introduce allergens and aggravators like “sunlight, heat, cold, grass, pollen, and dust mites,” dermatologist Lauren Ploch, M.D. told Women’s Health Magazine. Aside from environmental factors, your workout could also be causing your body to break out in hives. During a workout, the body produces a chemical called acetylcholine that, in some cases, causes a disruption in skin cells that irritates the skin and causes a rash that looks similar to hives. The excessive heat present in your body after a workout or other heat-inducing activity could also produce hives .
While external factors are the most common culprits behind a hives breakout, your emotions could also play a role in this allergic reaction.
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Seeking Emergency Medical Care
Call 911, especially if youre having trouble breathing. If you dont have an EpiPen, the ambulance will have epinephrine that paramedics can use to provide immediate treatment and will likely reach you much faster than having someone drive you to a hospital. Paramedics can get you to the hospital quickly and monitor your condition the entire time.
Never attempt to drive yourself to the hospital during anaphylaxis. Even if it is a very short drive, its not safe to attempt. You can lose consciousness rapidly.
If possible, after you call 911, keep someone with you until paramedics arrive.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911.
A doctor may prescribe you an epinephrine injector, such as an EpiPen, for future allergic reactions. Theyll teach you how to use it and answer any questions you might have. Youll keep your epinephrine injector on hand and use it if you develop hives in the future.
Youll still need to visit the emergency room after you use your epinephrine injector, but it can stop anaphylaxis from becoming deadly.
An Adverse Reaction To Exercise And Environment
Although a daily dose of thirty minutes of exercise is highly recommended, it may also be causing an individual to break out in hives. The body produces a chemical that can inhibit cell breakdown as cause rashes, known as acetylcholine, during exercise as a natural bodily response. Sweating is also known to cause a breakout of hives in those who are already prone to the condition. The sweat itself is not causing the hives, but the excess warmth of the skin can irritate the area concerned. Managing the inhabited environment, exercise, and what is consumed is paramount if hives are affecting an individual on a regular basis. There are also many environmental occurrences that can cause hives to break out such as excess heat, powerful winds, bug bites, and some plants are known to cause a breakout. If environmental concerns are worrisome, talk to a health professional about taking an antihistamine to reduce skin irritability.
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