Identifying the causes and treatment for Illinois residents suffering from Hives
Allergic reactions can show up in many ways, one of them being hives. Hives are swollen red bumps or patches of skin that often itch or burn. Hives can show up anywhere on the body and vary greatly in size and shape.
What causes hives?
Hives are often the body’s reaction to a specific allergen. When your body has an allergic reaction, the cells have an immune response and release a chemical called histamine. When this happens, plasma leaks out of the blood vessels located in the skin causing hives.
Acute urticaria is hives that are caused by an allergic reaction. Some of the main causes of acute urticarial hives include:
- Specific foods – the most common are nuts, fish, eggs, berries, milk, and chocolate.
- Medications – the most common are anti-inflammatory, blood pressure, and painkiller medications.
When we see a patient for hives, one of the first things we will need to do is determine the cause. This process begins with a series of questions to try to narrow down potential triggers. We may suggest allergy skin testing to determine what may have caused the allergic reaction. Blood work may also be done to rule out illness.
One of the first ways to treat hives is to provide relief from the symptoms. This is done with the help of antihistamines. There are both over the counter and prescription antihistamines. We will be able to help you determine which medication is best. Taking them regularly can help prevent hives from forming. We will then work with you to take steps to remove the trigger.
It is always important to call our office if you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, wheezing, swelling of the face, tongue, or lips, or rapid drop in blood pressure, as they may be a sign of anaphylaxis. Severe outbreaks of hives may require an injection of epinephrine.
If you are experiencing hives, there are ways to manage the symptoms before receiving medical attention. Cool compresses and wet clothes can provide relief, as will wearing loose-fitting clothing.
If you are an Illinois resident and would like more information about treatment for hives and other allergies, call us today to set up an appointment.