Keeping Hives Under Control: The 411

Hives are small red bumps or blotches that can appear on your skin seemingly out of nowhere and make your life uncomfortable. Although hives are not generally any cause for alarm, the itching and discomfort they cause is annoying. If you are well-informed about this particular condition, however, you can typically deal with a case of hives effectively. This article looks at some of the basic facts about this common skin disorder.  


Doctors have identified several types of hives. They generally divide hives into two main categories, depending on how long the outbreak lasts. Acute cases of hives are of a relatively short duration and last less than six weeks. A chronic case of hives, by contrast, can last much longer than a few weeks. Chronic cases last for months or even years. In addition to these two types, doctors have also identified a type of hives where the outbreak occurs under the skin instead of on the surface. This category of hives is known as angioedema. 


A case of hives might go away on its own without any medical treatment. If treatment is necessary, your doctor may suggest that you take an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Claritin. If this does not offer any relief, he might prescribe a stronger antihistamine. In some instances, people with chronic hives may need an even stronger medication called a corticosteroid. This type of drug is not used for long periods of time, however, as a serious adverse reaction is a possibility.  


Hives are often caused by an allergy and can be difficult to prevent unless you know the allergen that's creating the problem. The allergen might be a specific type of food or a pain medication such as aspirin. To determine what is triggering your outbreak, you might need to go on an allergy diary. By keeping close track of what you ingest and recording when your symptoms occur, you may be able to pinpoint your trigger or triggers. 


To manage your hives with as little discomfort as possible during an outbreak, follow these tips: Avoid wearing tight clothes, which can aggravate your condition. Also, take cool baths, which will help to relieve the itching. Applying a cold compress to the affected area can be beneficial as well. 

A mild case of hives might not need the attention of a physician, but if you are feeling any significant discomfort, contact a qualified dermatologist for help.

For more information, contact Desert Dermatology or a similar location.