Urticaria, or as they’re commonly known, hives, may fade in a few hours or last for weeks. No matter how long they stick around, however, they’re usually severely itchy. Richard Herrscher, MD, at AIR Care provides individualized treatment based on the underlying cause of your hives. If your hives last longer than a day, they’re accompanied by angioedema, or they’re just downright intolerable, call one of the offices in Dallas or Plano, Texas, or schedule an appointment online.
Hives (also called urticaria) appear on your skin as raised, itchy patches. The welt may be flat or rounded, but it’s always elevated. While individual hives disappear within 24 hours, new hives can continuously develop.
As a result, your reaction may last several days or longer. You have chronic hives when they last longer than six weeks.
Individual hives can also merge together to form a large plaque. You can tell hives apart from other skin rashes because they have unique qualities:
You may develop angioedema at the same time as your hives. Angioedema is an accumulation of fluids in the tissues below your hives. When angioedema develops, the area becomes swollen, red, and painful.
Hives frequently appear due to an allergic reaction. Allergens that commonly cause hives include:
You can also develop hives in response to many triggers that aren’t associated with allergies, such as:
Changes in temperature, stress, and exposure to sunlight can also cause hives.
On their own, hives don’t pose a threat to your health. However, hives and angioedema are two of the most common symptoms of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is most often triggered by food, insect, latex, and medication allergies.
If you have hives and also experience difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue, or have a hard time swallowing, call 911 for emergency medical care.
Before recommending treatment, Dr. Herrscher determines the cause of your hives. After learning more about when your hives appeared, he may perform blood work or allergy testing to get to the root of the problem.
Dr. Herrscher may prescribe medications to relieve symptoms like itching, redness, and inflammation. The best way to prevent hives for the long run is to identify your triggers and come up with a plan to avoid them. When allergens trigger your skin reaction, Dr. Herrscher may recommend immunotherapy.
Chronic hives are unpredictable; they may go away on their own or appear and disappear for months or years. If you struggle with ongoing hives, Dr. Herrscher may recommend one of several injectable medications available for chronic idiopathic urticaria -- chronic hives for which the cause is unknown.
To get treatment for urticaria, call AIR Care or schedule an appointment online.