Hives can appear on any part of the body. They are red or flesh covered. Hives are often round or disc-shaped, and often change shape, move around, disappear and reappear over short periods of time. When pressing the center of a red hive, it turns white, a process called blanching.
Write down your symptoms and signs, when they occurred and how long they lasted. The diary may help you identify triggers, which should then be avoided. For people with pressure urticaria, wearing loose clothing made of smooth fabrics may help avoid irritation.
In most cases, urticaria improves with medications.
Antihistamines are the standard treatment for hives. They reduce itching and swelling. Low-sedating or non-sedating antihistamines are preferred because they have minimal side effects. A physician may use a combination of 2 or 3 antihistamines. Lortadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) or diphenhydramine (Benedryl, others) are over the counter, and may relieve itching.
Corticosteroids may be used for severe hives, temporarily. An oral drug, such as prednisone, can reduce swelling, redness and itching
Autoimmune drugs may be used if antihistamines and corticosteroids are ineffective. They may help suppress an overactive immune system.
Cool, wet compresses may soothe the skin and prevent scratching. A comfortably cool bath may relieve itching. Add baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal finely ground, for the bathtub.
More Facts About Hives
If you know what caused the hives before, you can avoid whatever caused it. You may get hives in reaction to something else, however. There is not a vaccine for hives, There is a countless number of things which can cause hives.
Hives are not contagious because it is not usually caused by an infection. If your hives are in response to an infection, you may pass on the infection, but you dont pass on the hives.
Its extremely rare to get hives from an allergic reaction to a person, but it has happened. It may not be the person, though, but fabric, soap, lotions or some substance the other person uses and lingers on their clothing or skin. If it seems like you get hives all the time you should first see your family doctor. He or she may investigate the causes or refer you to an allergist, a doctor who specializes in treatment of allergies.
Anyone can get hives. If you tend to react to situations or substances by getting hives, you may get them in the future, no matter your age. There does seem to be a genetic tendency to get hives.
Severe hives may be associated with sudden, severe swelling in the mouth and throat, cutting off getting enough oxygen when you try to breathe. Death can occur before medical help arrives. The specially prepared injection contains epinephrine, to reduce the swelling in an emergency. The person carries the device to self-inject when extreme symptoms may put his/her life at risk.
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