An individual scratching his/her skin in public makes the viewer cringe with disgust. Hives (called as urticaria in medical terms) are itchy red rashes that appear raised on the skin surface. This might occur in one part of the body or spread across multiple areas. They appear in different sizes, starting right from the size of a pencil tip to that of a dinner plate. Sometimes, multiple rashes might come together to form larger welts.
Causes Behind these Ugly Welts
Hives are usually allergic reaction to certain foods and medicines. An allergic reaction causes the release of histamine and other substances into blood that results in itching, swelling and other symptoms as well. Other causes include:
Almost 50% of patients with chronic hives develop angioedema, a deeper swelling of tissues. Angioedema can affect any part of the body, but the commonly affected areas include the eyes, lips, genitals, hands and feet.
Symptoms & Treatment
Itching is a visible symptom of hives. Other common symptoms include swelling on the skin surface, appearance of red or skin-colored welts that often join together to form larger welts of different shapes that appear/disappear within minutes or hours.
A physician can diagnose a hive by simply looking at the rash and asks you for history of skin allergy. Rarely, he/she asks the patient to get a skin biopsy done. In most cases, there is no treatment offered as the rashes disappear away on their own. Some precautions that need to be taken while suffering from hives include:
Although hives don’t alter our body conditions or induce pain, living with a long-term condition is depressing. Chronic hives can negatively affect a person’s mood and life. Even one study has found that one in seven people with chronic hives underwent psychological or emotional problems such as stress and depression. This is understandable as swelling in the eyelids or lips makes an individual feel embarrassed to be socially active leading to isolation from his/her friends, family and the society as such. Talking to closed ones can encourage such people to come out of their shell and behave normally with others.
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