If you’ve ever experienced pale red bumps or welts on the skin that are accompanied by swelling and itching, it’s possible you’ve had hives. The pesky rash, whose official name is urticaria, can appear as a result of allergic reactions, bug bites, sun exposure, chemicals and foods, and even medications.
While most often not a serious medical condition, it is important that you be seen any time you develop a rash unexpectedly. Not only can a medical provider help offer some relief to your annoying symptoms, but they can help you discover the underlying cause as well.
What causes hives?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, hives are caused by an immune system reaction that triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals in the skin. These chemicals cause inflammation, which leads to the appearance of red, raised welts on the skin known as hives.
Hives can have a variety of causes, including allergic reactions to food, medication, or insect bites. Other possible triggers include infections, stress, sun exposure, and exposure to cold temperatures. Sometimes hives occur for unknown reasons, and the cause is never identified.
In some cases, hives can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disorder or a thyroid problem. Therefore, it is recommended to seek medical attention if hives are persistent, severe, or accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
Are hives serious?
In most cases, hives are not serious and tend to go away on their own within a few hours or days. However, in some cases, hives can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as an allergic reaction that can progress to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Hives can also be associated with other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, or dizziness, which can be signs of a severe allergic reaction. In these cases, immediate medical attention is necessary.
In addition, if hives are chronic or recur frequently, they can significantly impact a person's quality of life and may require ongoing management and treatment by a healthcare professional.
Therefore, while hives are not typically serious, it is important to seek medical attention if they are severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms to rule out any potential underlying health issues and ensure appropriate treatment.
Are hives a sign of allergies?
Many people want to know, are hives the same as a rash? Or, are hives a sign of allergies? The answer is yes, hives are a type of rash and they can be a sign of an allergic reaction, which occurs when the immune system overreacts to a substance that it perceives as a threat.
In this type of reaction, the immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation in the skin, leading to the appearance of hives.
Hives can be a symptom of an allergic reaction to a wide range of substances, including certain foods, medications, insect bites, and environmental allergens such as pollen or animal dander. In some cases, hives can also be a sign of an autoimmune disorder or a viral infection.
It is important to note that not all cases of hives are caused by allergies, and hives can have other causes as well. Therefore, if you experience hives or other symptoms, it is recommended to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
Can hives be caused by a plant?
Hives can be caused by contact with certain plants, a condition known as contact dermatitis. When the skin comes into contact with certain plants, it can trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals, leading to the appearance of hives, itching, and redness.
Some common plants that can cause contact dermatitis and hives include poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Other plants that can cause skin reactions include mango, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums.
It is important to note that not everyone will experience an allergic reaction to these plants, and the severity of the reaction can vary from person to person. If you suspect that contact with a plant may have caused your hives or other skin reaction, it is recommended to seek medical attention to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.
Are hives contagious?
Although hives themselves cannot be spread from person to person, the underlying cause of hives can sometimes be contagious. For instance, if your hives stem from an infection such as strep throat or COVID-19, the infection itself can be contagious and may transmit to others.
How long does it take for hives to go away?
When the itching is at its worst, you’re likely wondering how to get rid of hives. In most cases, hives disappear within a few days to weeks. However, in cases of chronic hives, they can persist for months or even longer. Treatment options, such as antihistamines or other medications, may help manage symptoms and reduce the duration of the hives.
Can you go to urgent care for hives?
Visiting urgent care if you’re showing signs and symptoms of hives is a great way to get treated quickly and effectively. In most cases, a medical provider at urgent care will assess the rash and determine the best hives treatment to get you back to normal.
Typically, for mild cases of hives, temporary relief can be found with an antihistamine. Your medical provider may also recommend avoiding hot water and instead taking a cool or lukewarm bath with either baking soda or colloidal oatmeal.
It is important to determine the underlying cause of the hives as well. The qualified provider at CareNow® will be able to review any other symptoms you may have and determine if additional allergy testing is needed.
To set up your appointment at CareNow®, visit our website. You can use the Web Check-In® feature to wait from anywhere prior to your appointment. Walk-in patients are also welcome any time we’re open — after hours and on the weekends.
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