Hives are itchy and red welts that result from a skin reaction. The welts vary in size and appearance. It fades repeatedly as the reaction runs its course. Hives become chronic if the welts appear for more than six weeks.
Hives are also known as urticaria. It occurs due to an allergic reaction to a medication or food. Environmental irritants may also trigger hives. Hives are temporary problems and they go away on their own.
What Causes Hives?
Hives are caused by an allergic reaction to several triggers. It happens when your body begins to release histamines into your blood. Histamines are chemicals your body produces in an attempt to defend itself against infection and other outside intruders. It can cause swelling, itching, and many of the symptoms that are experienced with hives.
What are the Symptoms of Hives?
- Batches of red skin that appears anywhere on the body
- Welts that vary in size and shape. It appears and fades repeatedly as the reaction runs the course.
- Severe itching
- Painful swelling in the eyelids, lips, and inside the throat
- Occurrences of blisters after exercising or exposure to heat and stress
Seek medical help if you have severe hives that persist for a week or two. Hives do not cause sudden risk or serious health problems. Inform your doctor if you experience:
- Trouble in breathing
- Swelling of the eyelids and lips
- Swelling of the tongue
What do Hives Look Like?
The noticeable symptom associated with hives is the welts that appear on the skin. They may be red and ring-shaped, or large and of random shape. They appear in batches on the affected part of the body. They can grow larger, change shape, and spread.
Hives may disappear or reappear over the course of the outbreak. Individual hives can last anywhere from half an hour to a day. Sometimes the hives may change shape or form together and create a larger, raised area. Hives can occur in a variety of places on the body.
What are the Risk Factors of Hives?
- Food allergies or medications
- Insect bites or stings
- Cold weather
- Pressure on skin or sun heat
- Viral infections and other immune system problems
How to Diagnose Hives?
Your doctor will assess your symptoms and look at the area of swelling. Your doctor may also run an assessment of your medical history to determine other health problems that trigger the condition. You may also need an allergy skin test and blood testing.
What is the Treatment for Hives?
Your doctor may recommend antihistamines and other medications. There are also beauty and skincare products that alleviate the symptoms and prevent them from worsening. Wearing loose clothes can also alleviate the condition.