What Are Hives?
Hives are pink or red bumps or slightly raised patches of skin. Sometimes, they have a pale center. Hives usually itch, but they also can burn or sting.
Hives also might look like rings or groups of rings joined together. Hives can appear in clusters and might change locations in a matter of hours.
A bunch of hives might be on a person’s face, then those might go away. Later some more may appear on a person’s arms.
Hives are common – between 10% and 25% of people get them at least once in their lives. They are usually harmless, though they may occasionally be a sign of a serious allergic reaction.
Causes Of Hives
Hives are an allergic reaction to food, medicine, viral infection, insect bite or environmental exposures. Often the cause cannot be determined. Hives localized to just one part of the body are usually due to skin contact with plants, pollen, food or pet saliva. Hives are not contagious.
Symptoms Of Hives
- sudden onset
- Red or skin colored welts that resemble mosquito bites
- Variable shapes
- Rapid and repeated change in location, size and shape.
Treatment Of Hives
- The best drug for widespread hives is an antihistamine. It may not cure the hives, but it will reduce their number and relieve itching.
- Benadryl or its generic equivalent is available without a prescription. It comes in both liquid and tablet form. Benadryl may cause drowsiness, so do not drive while taking it.
- Continue taking your antihistamine for a day or 2 until you are sure the hives are completely gone. Your medical provider can prescribe a non-sedating antihistamine if necessary.
Tips for Prevention of Hives
- Avoid the substances that trigger hives. If you know in advance that you will be exposed to a trigger, a preventive dose of antihistamine can prevent or minimize the hives.
- Don’t wear tight and fitting clothing and avoid hot baths or showers just after an episode of hives.
- Be moderate in your intake of sweets, chocolate, starches and greasy food and food to which you might be sensitive. If you break out into hives the day after you eat fish or prawns or in bumps when you’ve indulged in an orgy or chocolate, you know which food to restrict in your diet.