What is Hives/Urticaria?
Hives and urticaria refer to the same outbreak of red, often swollen, bumps or patches on the skin that appear suddenly. These blotches may appear anywhere on the body, including the arms, legs, torso, head and mouth, and they can even manifest on the tongue or inside the throat. Most of the time, the spots are itchy, but they may also sting or burn.
What Causes Hives/Urticaria?
The most common cause is allergies, such as allergies to foods, bug bites, latex, and medicines. Allergies are not the only cause, though. Infections, immunodeficiencies, and even sunlight can cause them. When they set on suddenly and go away quickly, it’s often easy to narrow down a list of potential causes. It may be more difficult to determine the cause when they last for an extended period.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Chronic or reoccurring outbreaks can often be managed with antihistamines or other medications. An allergist, who is a medical doctor that specializes in allergic reactions, can usually help patients identify the cause and recommend a medical treatment if necessary.
Who Can Benefit from Treatment?
Anyone who has multiple episodes may want to see an allergist. If the hives are manifesting in the mouth or throat, it’s especially important to seek immediate medical attention to prevent any swelling from blocking the airway. Even patients who only have mild cases on their skin, though, may want to see an allergist who can help lessen the symptoms.