When the immune system releases histamine as a result of contact with a perceived threat, it triggers an allergic reaction. In the case of hives, the allergic reaction appears as small blood vessel leaks which cause the skin to swell. An estimated 20% of people suffer hives at one point in their lives.
Hives (known by the medical term urticarial) comes in two forms: acute and chronic.
Acute urticaria is a short-term version of hives that usually emerges as a result of contact with food or substances such as latex, pet dander, pollen, and certain plants. Non-allergic triggers include exercise, heat, medications, and insect bites.
After identifying what triggers your allergy symptoms, your allergist can work with you to determine ways of managing symptoms and limiting exposure.
Unlike acute urticaria, chronic urticaria does not always have a specific cause. This form of hives may last for months or years. Your allergist will advise you how best to treat and manage the condition.
Symptoms of Hives:
- Red or skin-tone bumps appearing on any part of the body (these may vanish and reappear, or change appearance)
- Blanching (applying pressure to the center of the red hive causes the skin to turn white)
Though sometimes painful, hives are not contagious. To ease painful symptoms, consult an allergist or immunologist. Together you can determine the best course of action for treating hives and managing symptoms.
An allergist may conduct tests such as blood tests, skin, or urine tests to discover the source of hives. Once the source is determined, a custom plan can be created to reduce exposure to triggers.
Dr. Ispas-Ponas of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute is an expert in diagnosing and treating hives and other allergic conditions. To take the next step in allergy relief, give us a call.
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