You're noticing that you have welts or raised patchy areas on the skin that show up in a variety of shapes and sizes in different areas of your body. And they are intensely itchy! You may be suffering from urticaria, or hive. These are very common, affecting up to 20% of the population at some point in their lifetime. But how can you tell that the rash you have are hives?
How To Know If You Have Hives
Hives can often be differentiated from other rashes in that individual hives almost always disappear within 24 hours. Although you can have hives for weeks, months, and even years, the individual hives should move around the body, and leave no marks on the skin once they disappear. If your rash is fixed in one location, it may not be hives.
Hives can be broken down into two types: acute and chronic hives. Acute hives are usually classified as a rash that has been present for less than 6 weeks, while chronic hives have been present for a longer than that. Sporadic, intermittent hives are more likely to be induced by a trigger, while chronic hives often have an internal cause.
Common Causes For Hives
So how do you get hives? There are a number of factors that may bring them about, including:
- Food allergies
- Insect sting allergies
- Medication allergies
- Autoimmune disease
What To Do If Hives Are Driving You Crazy
There are many other causes of hives so an initial evaluation with your allergist will include a thorough history and physical exam to attempt to identify potential triggers. In some cases, allergy testing may be part of that workup. Although food allergy is often the first concern for patients, it is unusual for a food allergy to be the cause of chronic hives. Chronic hives are often autoimmune, which can be very frustrating as it is difficult to identify any specific cause. Thankfully, there are medications to get hives under control. Typically, hives can be controlled on an appropriate antihistamine regimen that your allergist will prescribe. In some cases, stronger medications may be needed.
If you’re looking for a cause of you or your child’s hives, our board- certified allergists at Advanced Allergy and Asthma are here to help. We treat food and skin allergies, medication allergies, nasal allergies, eye allergies, sinus infections, as well as. We also treat insect stings and asthma. Our offices are located in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, New Milford, Ridgefield and Norwalk.
- Dr. Yogen Dave