Exactly what is Hives (Urticaria)?Also referred to as Urticaria, hives refer to circumscribed, itch skin swellings. These are usually red or pink even it doesn’t always have to be like this. The condition results from skin cells known as mast releasing histamine. This chemical leads to the leaking of fluid by the capillaries. The accumulation of this fluid in the skin is what leads to swelling.

What triggers hives?

Physical factors are known to trigger hives such as cold, heat, sunlight, exercise, sustained pressure on one skin area maybe by using a shoulder strap or belt, stress, a sudden body temperature increase or even applying some brands of soap on your skin. Besides this, hives could also be a symptom of an allergic reaction by the whole body. This could be maybe by exhaling something such as molds, pollens or animal danger, being injected by insect bites or stings like bee stings as well as injected medication. Ingesting certain types of foods could also trigger an allergic reaction including foods like shellfish, tree nuts and fish, food additives and medications like aspirin or penicillin.

Prevention and treatment for hives

Hives tend to appear like swellings or wheals on the skin and are sometimes red or pink and could have a red blotch surrounding. Hives are typically oval or round and they do itch often and vary in size. Some of them blend with one another thus forming larger swelling areas. They can affect any skin area of your body particularly in the thighs, trunk, face and upper arms. Individual hives tend to fade rather quickly but new ones can appear between a period of 24 and 72 hours especially when one is exposed continuously to the substance or environment which triggered them.

During diagnosis, the doctor is particularly interested in knowing if you have a history of certain allergic reactions and if you have been exposed recently to new foods, medications, insects, pets and plants. A physical examination will be undertaken to confirm whether you are having skin rashes or it is indeed hives. For those with the condition occurring frequently, blood tests could be ordered by the doctor or a skin test performed for allergies. Treatment should be started immediately especially for those undergoing anaphylaxis whose breathing and blood pressure should be monitored carefully.

Prevention and treatment for hives

To prevent hives, it is essential that you avoid the particular substance or circumstance which made your skin to react. For those with an allergy of insect venom, keeping an epinephrine kit is advised for emergency injections for anaphylaxis prevention. Antihistamine drugs should also be available for containing itching and other signs of hives. Taking an antihistamine medication like clemastine or application of calamine is one of the ways in which less complicated cases of hives could be relieved. Relieving the itching is critical to prevent other hives being stimulated. Your doctor will also advise you on other treatment options available.