Hives, also called urticaria, is a type of skin rash characterized by itchy red bumps. As a common symptom of many types of allergies, hives are usually a temporary reaction to allergen exposure. In some cases, however, these raised welts could indicate a more severe problem that demands a long-lasting solution. So, what should people in the Atlanta area with allergies understand about hives?
Understanding Hives and What Causes Them
Hives appear when mast cells in the skin release histamine and other substances as an immune system response to a perceived threat. The release of histamine causes blood vessels to dilate and release fluid – this fluid will build up in the skin. As the fluid collects in various parts of the body, individuals may experience raised bumps of varying shapes and sizes.
The most common allergic triggers of hives include the following.
- Insect bites and stings
- Dust mites
- Foods like eggs, milk, nuts and shellfish
- Aspirin and other medication
- Pet dander
In some cases, allergies are not the cause of skin hives. Temperature changes, autoimmune diseases, stress, viral infections, scratching and even sunlight are just some of the additional triggers you could encounter. An allergist can help determine the precise cause of your hives during a consultation.
Who Is Most at Risk From Hives?
In brief, anyone with allergies is at risk for getting hives. But because many people have never been professionally diagnosed, they simply don’t realize that an allergen exposure has occurred. In addition, some types of allergies are more serious and can lead to anaphylaxis.
Hives will often accompany both mild and severe reactions, and the presence of hives alone will not necessarily signal the level of threat. Also, those with existing illnesses or infections may be more at risk due to a weakened immune system.
Effective Treatments for Hives
If you are conscious of what seems to bring on a case of hives, take steps to limit your exposure to the trigger. If you repeatedly notice signs of a skin rash, being aware of your surroundings and lifestyle could make a big difference.
While a strategy of avoidance is a practical approach, it’s naturally difficult to maintain. Because of this, your allergist may recommend using certain medications to control histamine release and prevent chronic hives. While various antihistamines may prove effective, speak to your allergy doctor before starting a new medication.
Chronic hives caused by allergies likely signal a more serious concern. After allergy testing and a comprehensive diagnosis, an allergist may recommend desensitization using immunotherapy or oral immunotherapy. This long-term tolerance-building strategy is most likely if a person experiences hives along with various other concerning allergy symptoms.
Professional Allergy Relief for Hives and Other Symptoms
Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center offers first-class allergy treatments and testing solutions. If you have experienced hives or other allergy symptoms, visit us in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek. For assistance, call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.