Hives are a rash or skin disease that is usually caused by some allergy. They are circular, raised welts on the surface of the skin and are usually itchy and occur in group. Hives can differ in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.
It can appear anywhere on the body but usually it appears on arms and legs. The hives that last for less than six weeks are called acute hives. On the other hand, those lasting more than six weeks are called chronic hives. In chronic cases, it is difficult to find the offending allergen than it is with acute hives cases.
The possible causes for acute hives are drugs, foods, insect bites, internal diseases, cold, heat, or sunlight. On the other hand, the causes of chronic hives are more difficult to find. In chronic cases, tests such as blood, biopsy, may be required.
The best treatment for hives is to identify and eliminate the cause whenever possible. There are many medicines available in the market for treating hives.
The best medicine for hives is an antihistamine. It may not treat hives, but it will definitely help to reduce their number and relieve itching. Antihistamines such as Benadryl are available without prescription as well. Benadryl can cause drowsiness; therefore do not drive while taking it.
Take antihistamine for couple of days until your hives completely disappears. Your dermatologist can also prescribe a non sedating antihistamine if required.
If a specific allergen has been found in the history, use of that substance must be eliminated. Antihistamine such as Benadryl and Chlorpheniramin and hydroxyzine are good options for treating acute hives.
Antihistamines with less sedation such as zyrtech, Claritin and Allegra can also be used for treating hives. Vigorous rubbing on the affected area usually worsens hives. If you are suffering from chronic hives, then try to avoid aspirin and products containing food additives.
In rare life threatening cases which involve airway closure and wheezing with hives, the patient requires adrenalin and should be under close medical observation. Injections of epinephrine are also used in such cases.
How Long is a Course of Medicine?
Sometimes doctors can suggest continuation of medications for long periods perhaps for a month or two even after the hives disappear. The purpose is to prevent the hives from breaking out again.
However medications such as cortisone / steroid should be used for short period initially to treat hives. Remember that always consult experienced doctor to find a medication regimen that suppresses the hives.
Hives can attack anyone, anytime, anywhere. There are many ways to get this skin condition and it doesn’t care who it targets.