Around 20% of people are affected with Hives or urticaria at some point or other during their lives. It can be triggered due to different substances and generally starts as an itchy patch and turns into swollen red welts. Hives is a common skin rash, which is generally triggered due to certain foods, medication or even stress. It is usually red, raised, itchy skin rash triggered by an allergen. It usually causes itching and might also burn or sting. Hives can occur anywhere on the body including face, lips, tongue, and other body parts. Hives or Urticaria is usually caused, when in response to histamine blood plasma leaks out of small blood vessels in the skin. Histamine is a chemical released from specialized cells. The problem of itching worsens with scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise, and stress. If you suspect that you may have hives, then you must immediately plan to visit a skin specialist of your area.
Hives are usually triggered by some food like eggs, nuts, peanuts, medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen and antibiotics, insect bites, physical stimuli, bacterial infections, pollen, plants, and pet dander. Upon suspecting hives, one should consult with skin specialists to get the problem diagnosed. The dermatologist makes the diagnosis by looking at the skin. Finding the cause is however challenging, especially if the hives have been around for more than 6 weeks. The skin specialist reviews a patient's health history by asking a few questions and doing a physical exam. The skin specialists if required may also advise few tests like allergy tests, blood test or a skin biopsy.
Hives have the tendency to rapidly change the size and move around, it disappears in one place and reappears in other places in just a matter of hours. However, the most common type of hives that people usually suffer is acute hives, symptoms of which last less than 6 weeks. Acute hives usually affect the face, neck, fingers, toes and the genitals of males but any part of the body can get affected. The other type of hives that can affect people is chronic hives. This type of hives is quite uncommon and about 1 in every 1,000 people is found to be affected with chronic urticaria. The symptoms of this hives continue for more than 6 weeks and people affected with it need to see a skin specialist in order to receive the best treatment.
If the problem persists for a longer period and makes it difficult even to sleep, then it becomes necessary to visit a skin specialist. Most of the skin specialists hold expertise in offering perfect diagnosis and treatment for the urticaria or hives patients. The skin specialists usually suggest blood test including a complete blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. This helps the doctor to know the severity of the problem based on which they decide the treatment options. The treatment is carried out with the prime objective of relieving the symptoms while the problem of hives goes away by itself. The commonly used oral treatments are antihistamines that oppose the histamine effects leaked by mast cells. Though some antihistamines are available without a prescription, still one should consult best skin specialist of their area for the perfect treatment.