Hives or urticaria is an outbreak of swollen, patches, red pale bumps, on the skin that can appear on the body for minutes to hours or even weeks at a time. This can appear anywhere on the body, including the lips, face, tongue, ears or throat.
It is commonly caused due to allergens such as medications, extreme cold or hot, insect bites, sunlight, chemicals and foods. Hives can be a sign of underlying health condition such as bacterial infections, hepatitis or thyroid disorder. There are times when hives can be a complete mystery. It is important for the patient to determine if an allergic reaction could be the cause.
Some of the allergies that cause hives are mentioned below.
Allergies Causes of Hives
- Medications: hives can also be caused due to both over the counter and prescription medications such as pain killers, antibiotics, diuretics, medicated creams, ointments and vitamins. After the hives outbreak, tell all medications and supplements you are taking to your doctor for consultation.
- Foods: Hives are most likely to be caused due foods such as nuts, fresh berries, chocolate, tomatoes, fish, eggs, soy, milk and wheat. Fresh foods are more likely to cause an outbreak against cooked food. Hives can become visible within a few minutes or even several hours after consuming the allergen. Abstaining from one of these foods at a time can be a method to decide which one is the offender.
- Chemicals: The most common chemical that causes hives is latex. This chemical is found on tooth brushes, phone buttons, baby diapers and other household products. Chemical that is present in detergent, nail polish, dyes, bleach can also be cause of hives.
- Environment allergens: Hives can also be caused due to common airborne allergens. These include dust, dander, mold, pollen or plants. The plants which usually cause hives on skin are poison ivy and poison oak. An allergy to insect bites should also be considered.
- Cosmetics: At times new cosmetics, perfumes or dyes can also lead to hives. look at the body to check where the hives are located. If the hives are on the neck then the cause of that could be perfume.
Patients should try to avoid the known allergens. You can take some measures to ease the symptoms associated with hives. Try to avoid the heat and keep the temperature of the skin cool.
Stay away from alcohol because it causes flushing of the skin. You should not scratch the affected area of hives. Wear loose clothes if you are suffering from hives because that will not put pressure on the skin.
If the substance or allergen responsible for your hives cannot be found, the symptoms of hives will need to be treated.
Antihistamines are the main medicines used to control hives and stop the itching. You can use antihistamines such as Benedryl, Seldane, Tagamet and atarax. In severe cases of hives you can use corticosteroids. Injections of epinephrine are used in severe cases that involve life threatening hives episodes.