How to Treat and Prevent Hives
They seem to come out of nowhere. The incessant itching, burning, and stinging. The unsightly swollen, pale red bumps. We’re talking about hives and they are a major nuisance. Luckily, prevention and treatment can save you from the madness.
How to Identify and Treat Hives
What Are Hives?
Medically known as urticaria, hives cause a sudden outbreak of itchy, red bumps. A hives rash can show up on just about any part of the body. Some people experience outbreaks on their face, neck, back, arms, hands, and even inside the mouth on the tongue or in the throat.
Hives are typically the result of an allergic reaction. This can include a reaction to food allergies, seasonal allergies, even an allergy to a specific medication. When your body is exposed to an allergen, it releases histamines. Histamines are chemicals that attempt to rid the body of the allergen causing the disruption. This attempt may be in the form of something simple like a sneeze, cough, or runny nose. In other cases, however (namly hives), the release of histamine causes blood plasma to spill out of the capillaries (small blood vessels) and into the skin, thus creating hives.
How to Treat Hives
The easiest way to achieve successful hives treatment is to rid the body of the allergen causing the reaction. However, this is easier said than done. A trigger is not always identified. When the trigger can’t be spotted, a doctor is likely to prescribe an antihistamine. Antihistamines do exactly what it sounds like, it blocks the release of histamines which can reduce the severity of the symptoms. For more serious outbreaks, oral corticosteroids can be taken to get rid of hives. Alternatively, if neither of the first two treatment options are successful, an injection of epinephrine or cortisone can garner better results.
How to Prevent Hives
We can all agree that the prevention of a condition is far better than treating it after the fact. The number one way to prevent hives is by identifying any triggers present in a previous outbreak and avoiding it at all costs.
As we mentioned, this will be extremely difficult as it is hard to isolate a single trigger when you’ve come in contact with numerous items and materials.
If, however, you’re prone to hives and get them regularly, then you’ll have a better understanding of what your triggers are. If those triggers are unavoidable like seasonal allergies or an allergy to a needed medication, you can preemptively take antihistamines to ward off the inevitable.
While over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl may do the trick, some outbreaks are a bit more stubborn and persistent. In this case, your doctor may want to prescribe something stronger like a corticosteroid. Keep in mind that it is important for you to talk to a physician before taking any medication.
If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, then you’re in luck. Our experts at The Dermatology Group are here to help! We will gladly offer you prevention advice, treatment options and additional resources for hives relief. Give us a call today!