Hives is one kind of skin rash often caused by insect stings, drug prescriptions and food allergy that triggers infection. This skin rash which is also known as Urticaria is more common to women than men. It is simply characterized by the appearance of red colored patches on surface of the skin on the arms, chest, feet, and throat.
According to some researchers, there are at least 20 percent of the populations that acquire hive at certain point of their lives.
Hives can be of different types depending on how it is acquired or depending on the effect of the triggering factor on your body.
- Physical Urticaria is often caused by a direct physical stimulation on skin like sweat, cold and heat exposure, and stress.
- Acute Urticaria is the common type of hives. It often last for less than six weeks and it is caused by fresh food or food that are not cooked well, medications, insect bites as well as internal diseases.
- Chronic Hives last for more than six weeks. However, the cause of this type of skin rash is quite difficult to recognize.
Just like other skin rashes, there are several factors that can trigger occurrence of Hives. Pollen; insect bites; food like shellfish, eggs, and nuts; drugs like antibiotics; and animal skin scale which are constantly shed off are some substances that can trigger hives. Other factors like exposure to extreme cold and/or heat, stress, as well as perspiration can also cause hives. And most cases of hives in children is due to disease causing viruses or bacterias.
When a person allergic to one of the triggering factors is affected, the body reacts by releasing decreased amount of histamine together with other chemicals from the mast cells into the bloodstream thus causing sever itching, swelling and appearance of rash. However when large amounts of histamine is released, the blood vessels become dilated causing the particular area to swell because of large amount of fluids that had accumulated.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of hives are easily observed and identified. Though there are some symptoms are commonly the same as other skin rashes, hives are particularly different at certain point.
- The most common sign, extreme itching.
- Appearance of circular lumps that can be likened to a mosquito bite.
- The circular lumps are different from other rashes since its outer edges are red in color and the inner portion is colored white as compared to other rashes that are entirely red in color.
- The lumps appear in groups or clusters.
- Appearance of individual lumps can disappear within 24 hours if it is treated immediately.
In some occasions, hives are mistakenly thought to be insect bites and are neglected. However this can lead to acquisition of certain difficulties. For this reason, there are some diagnostic methods you can do in order to know if the appearance of certain symptoms is cause by hives or not.
- Blood testing
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Allergy tests
These methods are very helpful in several fields of diagnosis since it provides information about particular details needed in order to know how to treat the skin condition.
Occurrence of mild effect of hives can be treated by ointments, lotions and creams that can be bought over-the-counter in order to reduce itching and swelling. Or you can just allow the swelling disappear by its own. You can also apply cold compresses on affected areas in order to lessen itching. However in stern cases with extreme itching and swelling, some doctors prescribe antihistamines in order to help normalize histamine levels in the bloodstream causing relief from itching and other symptoms. The chronic hives can be treated with combination of antihistamines with other drugs or oral corticosteroids.
Other prescriptions like epinephrine and steroids are only used in extremely severe cases of hives.
If you are prone to hives, knowing the different factors that can trigger its occurrence is essential in order to prevent the skin rash from occurring.
- Avoid foods that often cause hives.
- Avoid hot water or cold water baths.
- Avoid irritating portions of the body that are mostly affected by hives by wearing loose clothes.
- Use mild soaps
Summary and conclusion
Hives are considered to be one of the commonly acquired skin condition of individuals with sensitive immune systems. It is described by the appearance of red lumps that occur in clusters that come out I different parts of the body.
Though hives only occur in a short span of time, it is always necessary to avoid certain triggering factors that can cause the skin condition since severe cases of it can cause difficulty in breathing, dizziness, as well s wheezing.
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