Hives and facial swelling are reactions of the skin to the release of histamines or other chemicals in the blood. Both of them are typical allergic reactions to drugs, chemicals, some foods or sunlight.
In hives, small bumps develop within the skin. At times, they itch. In facial swelling, the swelling appears on the face, especially the center and nose area often and around the eyes. Facial swelling also often results in itching.
Hives and facial swelling generally develop within 20 minutes of being exposed to the allergen. In general these types of allergic reactions are harmless and will go away by themselves but serious swellings can affect the throat and make breathing difficult.
Hives and facial swelling can occur together, but they usually do not. Hives is the most common skin allergy for which people seek emergency medical care. One of the every 5 people will have hives at some time in their lives. Facial allergy is less common.
Hives and facial swelling can happen at any age and may cause anxiety and distress in the sufferer.
Mostly hives and facial swelling appear suddenly and subside without any treatment within days and sometimes within minutes.
Cause of Hives and Facial Swelling
- Hives and facial swelling is caused due to an allergic reaction where mast cells give us histamines. The histamine in the bloodstream leads to the swelling.
- Reaction to food such as shellfish, nuts, chocolates, medication, soaps, detergent, cosmetics and insect bites etc can cause hives and facial swelling.
- Infections such as viral illnesses, especially in children, can also cause hives and facial swelling.
- Transfusions of blood or blood products can be the reasons of hives or facial swelling.
- Physical agents such as heat, sunlight, cold water, or pressure can also cause the mast cells to give off histamines.
- Hives and facial swelling can also be a sign of some basic conditions. Diseases that can cause hives and facial allergy are cancer, hepatitis, auto immune disease and common cold.
- A family history which has been susceptible to hives or facial swelling.
- Emotional and physical stress can also cause the mast cells to give histamines.
Anti-histamines and Hives
If you are suffering from hives and a swollen face, contact your doctor for the proper treatment. Antihistamines are the best treatment for hives and mild facial swelling.
Antihistamine will partially relieve you form the itching and will reduce the swelling. In severe cases when all other treatments are ineffective your doctor can recommend corticosteroids.
Prompt emergency treatment is necessary if the severe facial swelling results in swallowing or breathing difficulty. People who often have these reactions should always carry a self-injecting syringe of epinephrine and antihistamine tablets to be used instantly if an attack occurs.
After a severe allergic reaction, such people should go to the hospital to get themselves checked out for any additional problems that may be present.