UrticariaWhat are hives?
Also known as urticaria, it can be triggered by many substances or situations. The condition usually starts as an itchy patch of skin that turns into swollen red welt with time.
Things to know:
- Raised itchy bumps (red or skin-colored) and blanching are some of the common symptoms of hives.
- Blanching is when a red hive turns white when it was pressed from the center.
- Hives can appear on any area of the body, can change shape, move around and reappear in a short span of time.
- There are two types of hives, one are short-lived (acute) and the other are long-term (chronic).
- None of them is actually life-threatening. However, if you experience any swelling in the throat or any other sign that disturbs breathing then you must immediately consult a doctor and look for emergency care.
- Chronic hives normally appear daily for more than six weeks and are inherently itchy. Each of them lasts within a day’s time and do not bruise or leave any scar.
Common triggers include:
Rubbing or scratching – the most frequent cause of physical urticaria.
Pressure or constriction – Also known as delayed pressure urticaria can appear in body parts under constant pressure like the belt area, soles of your feet etc.
Change in temperature –
Cold urticaria can be caused by sudden exposure to low temperatures followed by re-warming. Higher body temperature urticaria is caused due to a spike in the body temperature after work-outs, hot showers or anxiety.
Solar urticaria occurs within a few minutes after excessive sun exposure.
In cases, where hives show up for more than a month’s time or if they have reappeared over time, one must see a skin specialist or an allergist. The specialist will study the history of your health and conduct a few physical exams to determine the causes and suggest treatments or therapies for you. Treatments for hives range from cool compresses to prescription antihistamines and other drugs, such as anti-inflammatory medications and medications that may modify your immune system and relieve itching.
Also, where vasculitis may be the cause, your doctor will conduct a skin biopsy and send it to a dermatopathologist for examination under a microscope. Vasculitis is the inflammation of the blood vessels. These changes can disturb blood flow and result in organ and tissue damage, if not diagnosed timely.