Hives may be large or small, suddenly appear and then disappear just as quickly, and merge together to create the appearance of one very large welt. Throughout these changes, chances are one thing stays the same: they’re quite itchy. At Allergy Associates Dearborn, Roula Daher, MD, treats children and adults suffering from hives, using her expertise to determine the cause and recommend customized treatment. If you develop hives, call the office in Dearborn, Michigan, or book an appointment online.
Hives, or urticaria, are raised patches that occur on your skin or mucous membranes. Each hive tends to appear quickly, then disappears in 1-24 hours, but new wheals can suddenly develop in the same area. As a result, your skin reaction may last a few days. If your hives last longer than six weeks, you have chronic hives.
When the wheals first appear, they may resemble other skin rashes, but they have unique qualities that make them easy to identify:
Many patients develop a condition called angioedema together with their hives. Angioedema occurs when fluids accumulate in the tissues below your hives, causing swelling, redness, and pain. By comparison, hives aren’t painful, but they usually cause severe itching.
Hives are often an allergic reaction caused by many common allergens, including:
However, hives also appear in response to triggers that aren’t related to allergies, such as:
Hives also frequently occur from changes in temperature and exposure to sunlight or water.
Dr. Daher first identifies the cause of your hives. Since hives have many possible triggers, you may need allergy testing, blood work to rule out infections or an underlying disease, or a skin biopsy.
The best way to prevent hives in the future is to identify your triggers and learn how to avoid them. If your allergy test comes back positive, you may benefit from allergy shots to help desensitize your immune system and stop hives from recurring. Dr. Daher may also prescribe medications to relieve symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling.
Some patients with chronic hives suffer from wheals that appear and disappear for months or years. For others, the condition goes away on its own within a year. In the meantime, there are several FDA-approved drugs for treating chronic hives.
If your hives are accompanied by difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue, or difficulty swallowing, you may be having a serious allergic reaction. Call 911 for immediate medical attention.
To get relief for hives and angioedema, call Allergy Associates Dearborn or schedule an appointment online.