also known as urticaria (ur-tih-KAR-e-uh), are reddened, itchy
welts that may be triggered by exposure to certain foods,
medications or other substances.
welts vary in size and appear and fade repeatedly as the
reaction runs its course.
hives are a condition in which the welts last more than six
weeks or recur over months or years. Chronic hives usually
aren't life-threatening, but the condition can be very
uncomfortable and interfere with sleep and daily activities.
Often, the cause is not clear and in some cases, chronic hives
are a sign of an underlying health problem, such as thyroid
disease or lupus.
try various treatments to relieve your symptoms. For many
people, antihistamine and anti-itch medications provide relief
from chronic hives.
hives signs and symptoms include:
Batches of red or white welts (wheals), usually on the face,
trunk, arms or legs.
Welts that vary in size, change shape, and appear and fade
repeatedly as the reaction runs its course.
Itching, which may be severe.
Swelling that causes pain or burning (angioedema), especially
inside the throat and around the eyes, cheeks, lips, hands,
feet and genitals.
tendency for signs and symptoms to flare with triggers such as
heat, exercise and stress.
tendency for symptoms to recur frequently and unpredictably,
sometimes for months or years.
precautions may help prevent or soothe recurring skin
reactions of chronic hives:
loose, light clothing.
Avoid scratching or using harsh soaps.
the affected area with a shower, fan, cool cloth or soothing
a diary of when and where hives occur, what you were doing,
what you were eating, and so on. This may help you and your
doctor identify triggers.
Avoid known triggers, such as certain foods or additives,
alcohol, pain relievers, heat, cold, exertion, and stress.
study is needed, but some evidence supports the following
alternative medicine approaches for providing relief of
restrictions, such as eliminating yeast, food additives and
other things that may cause the skin reaction (allergens)
Supplements, such as vitamins B-12, C and D, fish oil, and
Acupuncture, sometimes with an herbal wash of burdock
SEE A DOCTOR
doctor if you have:
Hives that don't respond to treatment
Hives that continue to appear for several days
emergency care if you:
severe chest tightness or trouble breathing
your tongue or throat swelling