If you’ve ever had an attack of hives before, then you know how incredibly itchy they are and you’d do anything never to experience that feeling for as long as you live. Treatments such as antihistamines and cortisone are usually what the doctor prescribes, and they work very well at controlling hives. However, they can [...]
Hives are red, itchy areas of the skin that develop firm, elevated welts, often with a white spot in the center. Hives may fuse together to form giant hives. They usually fade away within minutes or hours. A severe response involves tissues deep under the skin with marked swelling of the eyes, lips, face, and larynx, known as angioneurotic edema. Breathing becomes difficult and life may be threatened. Nausea, dizziness, headache, and a drop in blood pressure may occur.
A single hive is usually the result of an outside cause, such as a bee sting or an insect bite. An allergic response to certain foods, pollens, house dust, feathers, mold, or drugs can cause multiple hives. They can also result from an underlying infection such as sinusitis, parasitic, yeast, or tooth abscess. In addition, an underlying disease can also cause hives such as hepatitis, connective tissue disease, or cancer. Hives can be triggered by physical factors such as exposure to cold, sunlight, heat, pressure, or even water. Hives can also come about due to stress. In fact, in more than 60 percent of cases no definite cause is found.
For immediate relief of itching use cool compresses, a warm soaking bath, or a soothing lotion. A paste of baking soda and water will provide comfort. Then try, by careful observation, to identify and then avoid the cause which triggers an attack, whether it is a food, pollen, or a drug. Hives should break out soon after exposure.
If you have become sensitized to insect stings such as ants, bees, wasps, or react violently to any allergen, you should have available an emergency first-aid kit consisting of adrenaline and antihistamines. Keep in mind that a violent reaction is a medical emergency; therefore, see your physician or go to the emergency room.