Itchy hives on the skin may seem to appear out of nowhere, causing redness and discomfort. However, your dermatologist can determine the cause of the skin reaction and recommend hives treatment. Here’s what you should know about getting your hives under control.
Hives, also called urticaria, are red and itchy welts that can appear anywhere on the body. Hives are often raised and can be any size. Allergic reactions to food and medications often cause hives, even if you didn’t know you had an allergy. Incidences like insect stings and prolonged sun exposure may also cause allergy hives.
There are several types of hives. Most people develop what are called acute urticaria, which are hives lasting fewer than six weeks. This is common if you have an allergy. Hives lasting longer than six weeks are called chronic urticaria. Chronic hives may have an unknown cause but can also result from a medical condition. Be sure to see your doctor if you’re experiencing chronic hives.
If you’re experiencing hives, it’s important to see a dermatologist. The doctor can uncover potential triggers. If your hives are appearing due to an allergy, you should avoid that substance and keep antihistamines on hand. Your dermatologist may recommend that you see an allergist to manage your symptoms. It’s also important to seek emergency care for symptoms of an allergic reaction.
To help soothe the symptoms of hives and control flare ups, your dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Antihistamines: Oral antihistamines can help control itching and swelling associated with allergy hives. Your dermatologist may recommend an over-the-counter product or write you a prescription. Topical antihistamines may also soothe your skin during a hive flare up.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications: If you have a more severe case of hives, your dermatologist may recommend an oral corticosteroid medication. This anti-inflammatory medication can reduce swelling and itching of the skin. Corticosteroids are for short-term relief of symptoms, rather than long-term use.
Immunosuppressants: Cases of hives that don’t respond to antihistamines or anti-inflammatory drugs may require immunosuppressive medications. These drugs prevent the immune system from overreacting to triggers, thus controlling outbreaks of hives.
Be sure to talk to your dermatologist about potential side effects of these hive treatments. You should also follow their dosage instructions carefully and book an appointment if your symptoms don’t improve. Keep in mind that those with allergy hives may require epinephrine injections to manage severe allergic reactions. Your dermatologist may refer you to a specialist to diagnose and treat your allergies.
The itching, swelling, and redness of hives can be frustrating, but the skin experts at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are here to help you find relief. Our medical dermatology services are designed to diagnose and treat a number of skin conditions, including acute and chronic hives. With locations in Whittier, CA and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, we also offer cosmetic and surgical services to support your skin’s health and radiance. Contact us today to book an appointment.