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5. Youre Wearing Too-Tight ClothesSome people will develop hives in areas where there is more pressure on the skin, such as on the bottom of their feet and underneath tightly-fitting clothing or underwear, says Brod. He recommends resisting the urge to scratchand wearing loose-fitting clothing.
6. You Have an Autoimmune DiseaseIf you still have hives after an extended period of time , an autoimmune disease may be to blame. Lupus or thyroid disease can cause hives, says Ploch, who adds that type 1 diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and celiac disease could also be to blame. Attributing hives to an autoimmune disease is often a process of elimination, though, she says, so its important to check in with your doctor.
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. Were 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. Youre listening to The Scope.
Dr. Miller: Hi, Im 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? Whats a hive? I think of a beehive but I dont know if thats what a hive is.
Favorite Tool To Virtually Identify An Allergy
Sometimes hives can be part of an allergic reaction. This interactive tool from AAAAI can help pinpoint the issue. Just click through a series of questions and mark where on the body the allergy is occurring and the symptoms youre experiencing, and youll be presented with possible issues.
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When To Get Medical Help
Luckily, rashes caused by allergies can often be treated from the comfort of your own home, and some might clear up as soon as the allergen is removed from your environment. Dr. Purcell said it’s important to see a healthcare provider if your rash doesn’t respond to treatments that usually work, like topical steroids or taking an antihistamine.
And if you can’t figure out what’s causing your rash, you should consult a healthcare provider to determine what’s triggering your symptoms.
If you can, try making an appointment with a skincare specialist, like a dermatologist, rather than visiting an urgent care for help with a rash caused by an allergen, Dr. Brar recommended. That said, if you are experiencing serious symptoms, like shortness of breath, you should seek help as quickly as possible rather than waiting for an appointment with a specialized doctor.
You Have An Autoimmune Disease
If you still have hives after an extended period of time , an autoimmune disease may be to blame.
Lupus or thyroid disease can cause hives, says Dr. Ploch, who adds that type 1 diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and celiac disease could also be to blame.
Attributing hives to an autoimmune disease is often a process of elimination, though, she says, so its important to check in with your doctor.
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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.
Take A Bath Or Shower
For temporary itch relief, water therapy in the form of a bath or shower may help. The question is, at what temperature?
Whether cool water is more comforting than warm depends on your sensory perception of itch, explained Walter Ryan III, DO, an allergy and immunology specialist with the Florida Center for Allergy and Asthma Care in Boca Raton, Florida., and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Cold provides numbing relief, Dr. Ryan III said, while heat can sometimes distract your brain from the itch.
Opt for cooling relief if you think you have “cholinergic urticaria,” a type of hives believed to be caused by sweating due to exercise, fever, or hot baths or showers, for example.
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Excess Of Heat And Sweat Can Cause Breaking Out In Heat
There are heat-induced hives, that are caused by exercise, sweating, hot showets and anxiety. Generally such types of hives begin from the neck and upper chest and then spread to the face, back and the extremities. In case this happens to you on a regular basis, you need to consult your doctor, who can put you on an antihistamine regimen.
Conditions Related To Hives
Hives can sometimes be a symptom of or be mistaken for other skin problems. Similarly, certain conditions and other things can trigger hives. The following are related to hives for at least one of these reasons:
More than 50 percent of cases of chronic hives are believed to occur alongside an autoimmune disease. The following autoimmune diseases can trigger chronic hives:
- Type 1 Diabetes Long-lasting chronic hives could be an early indicator of type 1 diabetes.
- Lupus Its not very likely, but lupus can cause hives, possibly because of the existence of certain antibodies, sunlight, or response to some medications. Hives typically will go away within 24 hours, but if they last longer, it could be a condition called urticarial vasculitis.
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What Are Some Common Triggers
Even though doctors canât say for sure what causes CIU, they do know things that can lead to flare-ups. They include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen
- What other symptoms you have
- If youâre taking new meds
Theyâll also ask about the foods you eat and if you have pets, to see if an allergy is to blame. They may check for other illnesses or conditions that could be causing the hives, like an overactive or underactive thyroid.
If they canât find a cause, youâll likely be diagnosed with CSU.
Symptoms Of Stress Rash
Stress rashes often appear as hives, also known as urticaria, which tend to be:
- Itchy: The rash can be itchy, or it could burn or sting.
- Red/blotchy: The welts can also vary in color.
- Swollen/puffy: The skin will swell in areas, and shapes and edges are obvious. Swelling can also occur underneath the skin, which is called angioedema.
Hives can appear anywhere on the body. While they may initially start as tiny red bumps like a typical rash, stress rashes often become larger welts or patches that become worse after scratching them.
Individual hives can be as large as dinner plates, but smaller hives can also merge together so that they appear to cover a large portion of the body.
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Due To Autoimmune Disease:
In case you have hives after a long period of time, say about one month or even more, there may be chance that you might have an autoimmune disease. Lupus or thyroid disease can result in hives. So, it is important for you to check with your doctor, in case hives do not go after an extended period of time.
Causes Of Stress Rash
Hives are often the result of an allergic reaction to something in your environment. But stress can also trigger a response in the sympathetic nervous system, leading to the release of histamine.
Histamine is a compound that is normally produced by the body in response to injury, allergies, and inflammatory reactions, but it can also be triggered by stress.
Most commonly, hives are a result of one of the following causes:
If youve ruled out these common causes, its possible that stress is a factor.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Hives
In many respects, chronic hives and acute hives may look alike: they can be itchy, swollen raised welts that turn lighter in the center and with pressure. However, chronic hives can:
- Shift sizes and shapes.
- Appear, disappear and then reappear at least every few days for long periods of time, even months or years.
- Happen along with heat, exercise or stress.
Is Lupus Contagious
Lupus is not spread through viral or bacterial infections, and it’s not passed along from person to person through any kind of contact. Lupus is an autoimmune condition, meaning a person’s immune system turns on itself. As a result, the immune system attacks healthy tissue and organs as if fighting off some foreign invader.
It’s not clear why the immune system goes rogue. It may be partly due to the genes that someone inherits. But family history alone doesn’t fully explain why some people develop lupus, and others do not. Scientists think something must trigger the disease. Potential lupus triggers include ultraviolet light, cigarette smoke, certain infections, physical trauma, stress, and certain drugs. None have proven to directly cause lupus but rather are associated with it.
The key risk factors for lupus are gender, age, and race. Nine out of 10 cases involve women, according to the LFA, although men get lupus, too. Most signs and symptoms of the disease appear between the ages of 15 and 45, but younger and older people can develop lupus as well. African-American women are more likely to have lupus than white women. The disease is also more prevalent in Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander women.
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How Is It Treated
The treatment your healthcare provider recommends will depend on how serious your hives are. He or she may suggest that you do one or more of the following to relieve the itching and reduce the swelling:
- Soak in a lukewarm bath or use cool compresses.
- Avoid heat or rubbing, which releases more histamines.
- Take antihistamine medicine as directed by the label or your provider to reduce your allergic response.
If the rash is severe or not responding to the above treatments, your provider may prescribe an oral steroid medicine to take for a few days.
Hives rarely cause emergencies. But sometimes they can cause throat swelling and trouble breathing. If your throat is swelling or you are having trouble breathing or are wheezing, call 911. Once you are getting medical care, you will be given a shot of epinephrine to stop the reaction. When the emergency symptoms have been treated, you will probably be given steroid medicine–for example, prednisone–to take for the next several days to prevent the reaction from happening again.
Once the hives have gone and you are feeling better, you should see your healthcare provider to talk about whether you need tests to determine what caused the hives. If you are able to determine the cause, the best prevention is avoiding the cause, if that’s possible. Whether you are able to learn the cause or not, if hives are a frequent problem, you may need to take antihistamines every day to prevent the hives.
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.
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Is It Hives Or Angioedema
Angioedema swelling of tissue beneath the surface of the skin can be mistaken for, or associated with hives. It can be caused by allergic reactions, medications or a hereditary deficiency of some enzymes. The following symptoms may indicate angioedema:
- Swelling in the eyes or mouth
- Swelling of the hands, feet or throat
- Difficulty breathing, stomach cramps or swelling of the lining of the eyes
The best way to identify your symptoms is to talk to an allergist who can diagnose and treat both hives and angioedema.
How Do They Occur
Clusters of hives may appear as a reaction to an allergen such as food, medicine, or an insect bite or sting. Hives may also occur as a reaction to infection or emotional stress. Histamine, a chemical your body makes, is released in response to the irritant that causes the hives to form. Histamine causes the redness, swelling, and itching. Often the cause of the hives cannot be determined.
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Causes Of Hives Rash: Possible Reasons
Urticaria is the term used to identify the medical condition characterised by a sudden appearance of swollen, pale red bumps usually accompanied by an itchy rash on the skin. This condition is also described as an outbreak of hives.
A number of triggers have been identified for people suffer from hives rash:
- Medical reports show hives are commonly caused by allergic reactions to foods, drugs and other compounds.
- The likely foods that cause this allergic reaction in adults include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts like walnut and almonds. These foods are usually identified as the trigger of hives after a careful investigation carried out by the physician treating the patient.
- Hives may also be aggravated by extreme temperature, water, strenuous exercise or stress.
- When a persons body generate antibodies that irritate inflammatory cells, the resulted proteins production can lead to hives.
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an outbreak of hives also can be caused by insect bites, exposure to pollen, and allergy after shooting up. These inflammations could also be caused by the reaction of antibodies in our system which affects cells to cause a breakout of hives.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Take antihistamines or other medicines to help relieve your symptoms. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about possible side effects or drug interactions.
- Avoid foods that seem to cause you to break out in hives.
- See your healthcare provider if you continue to have outbreaks of hives.
- If you have a known severe allergy, such as to bee stings or to a food such as peanuts, ask your provider about carrying EpiPen. EpiPen is a single-dose injection kit of epinephrine. You can use it to give yourself a shot if you have a severe allergic reaction. It will counteract or slow the allergic reaction until medical help arrives.
- Wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that indicates your allergies and risk of a severe reaction. This can help ensure prompt and proper treatment during an emergency.
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Can Stress Cause Hives
Hives can also develop as a result of sun or cold exposure, infections, excessive perspiration, and emotional stress. The reason why stress seems to precipitate an outbreak of hives in many people is not completely understood but is likely related to the known effects of stress on the immune system. In many cases, the cause of hives in a given individual cannot be identified.
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If You Experience Hives Often Or They’re Severe You Need To Deal With Them Asap
One way to address the underlying cause of hives is to review the last few days. “If hives happen, I recommend going back through the past 48 hours and writing down everything you did and ate,” said Blake. Even if you don’t find a cause, Blake said that the next time it happens, there’s a better chance that a doctor can find a cause.
NYC Dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, MD, also told INSIDER that taking an oral antihistamine regularly on a daily basis for a period of time can treat current hives as well as prevent new ones.
So, how do you know when your hives are beyond OTC treatment? “Anyone with chronic hives absolutely needs to be evaluated by a physician, because causes of hives can be serious,” explained Blake. The most concerning, said Blake, are certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, lupus being the most common, and infections, especially parasites or hepatitis, and vasculitis, where the blood vessels of the body are being attacked, so it’s worth seeing a doctor to try and determine a cause as soon as you can.
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