Hives. What causes them? How to make them go away?

flickr.com/photos/ espelina/ 24831708

I love to see hives.  So treatable.  So temporary.  And, to avoid them in the future is . . . so rewarding.

What are hives?

  • Raised bumps in the upper layers of the skin.
  • Red or pink or pale (almost skin colored).
  • Itchy.

Sometimes hives are part of a larger allergic reaction which can involve the airway.  I have taught my kids (and my patients) “You need to breathe to live.”  So, if you have a serious allergic reaction with symptoms like dizziness, swelling, or difficulty breathing call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Hives usually come and go.   Take pictures.  Between the time you make the appointment and you are seen, the lesions most likely have changed.  This history is important.

Anyone can get hives.  20% of us will have hives during our lifetime, but only 1% will have hives lasting more than 6 weeks.

What causes hives?

  • Infections.
  • Allergies to food or particles in the air that touches the skin.
  • Insect stings or bites.
  • Exercise (Personally, I get this every time I run in cold weather–a.k.a. Kansas winters).
  • Medicines.

To diagnose hives see your doctor.  Blood work may be needed.

The most important treatment is avoiding the cause of the hives.  Antihistamines, of which there are two families of this medication, may also help.   At times, a prescription is needed to stop the hives.flickr.com/photos/ manueb/ 3682755320

Want more information?  http://familydoctor.org/737.xml

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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