Hives welts or nettle rash is a common manifestation of food allergy. Around 20 percent of acute hives cases are related to the ingestion of an allergenic food such as eggs, nuts, chocolate, fish or some tor some types of fruit.
Food allergy and food additives related hives show up almost immediately, after hours or at least days. Itchy, swollen red areas suddenly appear on the skin all over the body, the face, lips, tongue, throat or ears after the food allergy has taken hold.
Hives area varies in size, from very small to several centimetres width. Hives are typically itch, sting, or burns that often have a pale border.
The allergic method is responsible for the hives manifestation because of chemicals that are released during the abnormal immune response, mostly histamine.
When histamine circulates in the inner cells of the skin and of the skin capillaries, the endothelial cells, incites an inflammatory reaction with a leakage of liquids from the capillaries, resulting in itchy skin.
Histamine can also be released by causes other than food allergy, as drugs, infections, viruses or bacteria or physical substances such as water, heath, cold, sun, etc.
Acute or Chronic Hives?
Hives that are related to food allergy is an allergic hives. Histamine and other inflammatory substances are produced from activated immune cells.
These cells have been triggered by the binding with igE antibodies formed by the allergen antibody interaction.
The itchy reaction that disappear by the time are classified as an acute hives, whereas itchy reactions that appears for few minutes and lasts for few hours to several weeks after the allergen exposure are chronic hives.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Food Allergy Hives
Hives are easy to identify optically from its appearance, but the cause may need a little detective work.
Your doctor can do investigations only to determine the cause and, in case of food allergy, the allergenic hives, the allergenic food is the cause.
You can prevent it by the elimination of differing foods in your diet. Removing all the possible allergenic foods from the diet one by one, as a process of elimination, identifying the wrong food.
You can prepare a food diary to annotate eated food and eventual response and to see if hives decreases.
To decrease the reaction of hives but not to treat the causes you can use some antihistamines medication that blocks the effect of histamine production.
These medications should be taken only if prescribed by your doctor. You should keep your skin cool and avoid getting hot from exercise.
Taking a bath in lukewarm water instead of piping hot will help the itching and burning sensation. You should not rub or scratch the itchy skin: instead, apply moisturising creams on the infected area to reduce dryness and itch.