What is Hives ?
Urticaria, also known as hives, is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin that appear suddenly — either as a result of the body’s reaction to certain allergens, or for unknown reasons.
What Cause of Hives ?
Hives occurs when the body reacts to an allergen and releases histamine and other chemicals from under the surface of the skin. The histamine and chemicals cause inflammation and fluid to accumulate under the skin, causing wheals.
Examples of known Hives triggers
- Medications, including some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ACE inhibitors, used for high blood pressure.
- Foods, such nuts, shellfish, food additives, eggs, strawberries, and wheat products
- Infections, including influenza, the common cold, glandular fever, and hepatitis B
- bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and strep throat
- Intestinal parasites
- Extreme temperatures or changes in temperature
- High body temperature
- Pet dander from dogs, cats, horses, and so on
- Dust mites
- Cockroaches and cockroach waste
- Some plants, including nettles, poison ivy, and poison oak
- Insect bites and stings
- Some chemicals
- Chronic illness, such as thyroid disease or lupus
- Sunlight exposure
- Water on the skin
In over half of all cases, people never find the exact cause.
What are the different types of hives?
- Acute urticaria
- Chronic urticaria and angioedema
- Physical urticaria
Hives, or urticaria, can be acute or chronic. Acute urticaria is the most common type. Symptoms last less than 6 weeks, and they typically affect the face and neck, fingers, toes, and the genitals of males. However, any part of the body can be affected.
Chronic urticaria continues for more than 6 weeks. About 1 in every 1,000 people is estimated to experience chronic urticaria.The exact cause is unknown, but it may link to the immune system.
Viruses can also trigger hives. In some cases, it may relate to an underlying autoimmune disorder, such as thyroid disease or lupus.
Angioedema may also occur. This is similar to hives, but it affects the deeper layers of the skin.
Anaphylaxis of Hives –
Anaphylaxis leads to severe breathing difficulties and potential unconsciousness. It is considered to be a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can affect the whole body. It can lead to serious breathing difficulties and a loss of consciousness. It can be fatal if not treated quickly. It is a medical emergency.
Immediate medical attention is needed if there is:
- nausea and vomiting
- swelling of the lining of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat, causing breathing difficulty
- cold and clammy skin
- rapid heartbeat
- faintness or lightheadedness
- an unexpectedly abrupt feeling of intense anxiety
- People with hives need to be alert for further symptoms which could indicate an anaphylactic reaction.
When Should I Call the Doctor About Hives?
If hives or angioedema occur with any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, or face
Hives Home remedies
Triggers do not cause the problem, but they can aggravate symptoms, so patients should try to identify and avoid them.
This may include:
- abstaining from or cutting down on alcohol
- avoiding certain medications
- avoiding stress, if possible, perhaps with meditation or relaxation techniques
- choosing some soaps, skin creams, and detergents that are mild.
- Avoiding certain foods may help. Foods known to trigger histamine production include spinach, fish, yogurt, fish, tomato, processed, meats, chocolate, and strawberries.
Tips to reduce the irritation caused by hives include:
- wearing loose, light clothing
- avoiding scratching
- use soaps for sensitive skin
- use a shower, fan, cold water, lotion, or cool compresses to cool the area
- take an oatmeal bath with tepid water
- avoid known triggers
- Some sources recommend supplements such as quercetin and evening primrose oil, and vitamin C, D and others. It is important to speak to a doctor before using supplements, as these can trigger adverse reactions.
Keeping a record of flareups can help identify a trigger.
Hives and stress
One cause of hives, or a factor that can make symptoms worse, is emotional stress. In other words, when a person is stressed, any inflammatory reactions are likely to be more severe in a person who is susceptible to a reaction. In this way, hives, or urticaria, can be linked to stress.