Hives usually occur as part of an allergic reaction to a substance the body recognizes as harmful. Some of the most common triggers of hives include medications, insect venom, animal dander, pollen, certain foods, and extreme temperatures. In some cases, hives also develop because of certain medical conditions, illnesses, or extreme emotional stress.
Anyone can get hives. However, hives are more likely to occur in patients with past allergic reactions, a history of hives, or a disorder associated with hives.
Hives usually appear as itchy, raised, red blotches on the skin. They may be very small, or they may be several inches in diameter. Hives often appear quickly after the patient is exposed to a trigger. Some patients develop hives in response to more than 1 trigger.
In most cases, hives go away on their own within 24 hours. However, this condition can be very uncomfortable for patients while it persists. Dr. Bruell prescribes several different treatments to help patients deal with symptoms, including antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, and drugs that reduce swelling and pain. Patients with hives due to problems with their immune system or certain hereditary conditions may also benefit from drugs that control blood proteins and suppress the patient’s immune system.
Hives themselves are unlikely to be life-threatening. However, some of the conditions that cause hives can be dangerous. When hives are accompanied by angioedema in the throat, the patient’s breathing can be compromised. For this reason, people with a history of severe allergy attacks involving hives or throat swelling should carry an EpiPen® to provide prompt treatment.
Even with medication, patients may still experience hives episodes. Patients help reduce their discomfort while dealing with hives by wearing loose clothing, placing cool compresses on hives, or taking a cool bath. Patients also help reduce the risk of developing hives by avoiding known triggers as much as possible.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!