Hives (urticaria) are rashes caused by tiny amounts of fluid that leaks from the blood vessels just under the skin’s surface. It may be isolated to a small area on one part of the body or be spread across larger areas. It can affect both adults and children. There are two main forms of hives that have different causes, which are:
- Acute urticaria
- A rash that usually clears up within a six-week window
- Usually triggered by allergens, irritants, infections, medicines, – – – heat or exercise
- Chronic urticaria
The rash may last anywhere from over six weeks to multiple years and is linked to other conditions, such as autoimmune issues
Hives consist of spots or patches of raised red or white skin. Hives can be different sizes and shapes, are often itchy and can sometimes be accompanied by a stinging or burning sensation.
Symptoms will rarely continue for more than 24 hours and are usually present for around 8 to 12 hours. In rarer cases, hives can continue for days, and even several months. As previously mentioned, hives most commonly flare up due to any number of triggers.
Sometimes, no obvious cause can be located. However, factors, such as emotional stress and alcohol or caffeine, can worsen any symptoms.
Some symptoms can be an indication of a more serious condition and need urgent emergency care, such as:
- Feeling dizzy
- Severe chest tightness or trouble breathing
- Throat or tongue swelling
In the case of acute urticaria, treatment is not usually necessary. However, a prescription of antihistamines or corticosteroids can help to manage symptoms.
On the other hand, in cases of chronic urticaria, methods of lifestyle management and relaxation techniques may be beneficial alongside stronger forms of antihistamines and corticosteroids.
Ahmeys healthcare professionals are available to undertake an examination and try and ascertain any triggers or causes. Prescriptions and courses of treatment can then be put in place, taking into account your medical history, in order to help alleviate your symptoms and control flare-ups. If treatment does not seem to be working, our clinicians are able to refer you to a dermatologist to investigate further.