About 25% of people in the United States develop hives at some point in their life. An allergic reaction usually stimulates the swollen, red, itchy patch of skin. Board-certified allergist and immunologist, Jun Yang, MD, at Two River Allergy and Asthma Group in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, offers advanced allergy testing to identify the source of your hives and provides treatments to alleviate skin discomfort. To schedule an evaluation for hives, call the office or book online today.
Hives, also called urticaria, are a type of skin rash that causes swollen, red, itchy areas to appear on your skin. Hives most often develop from an allergic reaction to certain foods or medications.
Your hives may vary in size from less than an inch to a few inches. You may have hives on one area of your body or all over, and they can last minutes to hours, or even several days before fading.
Angioedema is an allergic reaction similar to hives but causes swelling deeper in the layers of the skin. It generally lasts longer than hives, but the two skin conditions may occur at the same time.
In rare cases, angioedema may affect the throat and tongue, blocking the airway and making it difficult to breathe. If you have swelling of your tongue or throat from angioedema, you need immediate medical attention.
Hives and angioedema occur when histamine releases from the special cells along your skin’s blood vessels. Your blood vessels leak plasma in response to the histamine.
An allergic reaction to food, medicines, insect bites, or sunlight exposure may cause the release of histamine. However, the underlying cause of your hives may be unknown.
Hives are divided into types based on how long the skin condition lasts and the cause. Types of hives include:
Acute urticaria is hives that last less than six weeks. Food, medicine, latex, or infections are the most common cause of these types of hives.
Chronic urticaria is recurrent hives that last longer than six weeks. The underlying cause of chronic urticaria is more difficult to identify. The cause may be similar to acute urticaria, but may also be related to autoimmunity, viral infections, or malignancy.
Physical urticaria is caused by physical stimulation of the skin, from heat, sunlight, cold air, or water.
Skin scratching, continual stroking of the skin, or tight-fitting clothes that rub on the skin cause dermatographism hives.
Dr. Yang at Two River Allergy and Asthma Group recommends avoidance of the allergen responsible for your hives to alleviate symptoms. He may also recommend antihistamines to decrease histamine release to alleviate the skin condition.
For chronic hives, Dr. Yang may request lab tests to better understand the underlying cause of your skin condition. For relief, he may prescribe antihistamines and other prescription disease-specific medications based on the results of your lab testing.
For intractable hives, Dr. Yang may recommend the newly approved biologic treatment.
To get the answers and treatment you need for hives, contact Two River Allergy and Asthma Group by phone or online today.