Hives can occur anywhere on the body, and can range in size from few millimeters to a foot or more in diameter. They can burn or sting, and are almost always itchy. Often, they will come and go, and change size very rapidly. You may wake up in the morning feeling fine, by lunch have a bad looking outbreak, and by dinnertime look fine again. Then later in the evening they can reappear again.
Identifying the causes of hives can sometimes be difficult. It is also possible that several factors are contributing to the hives. In many cases, the cause of hives is never determined.
Types of hives
Ordinary hives appear suddenly, and for no apparent reason. They usually appear in several places on the body, swell and turn red, and are itchy. They come and go, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Episodes of ordinary hives can last from a few days to weeks. If they last more than 6 weeks, then they are considered chronic. Chronic hives can last months or years, and usually the cause is never identified. Hives caused by nerves or stress are considered ordinary hives.
Physical hives occur when something stimulates the skin. Physical hives caused by scratching are referred to as dermatographism. Other stimuli include heat or cold, sunlight, pressure, water or exercise induced hives.
Cause of hives
Ordinary hives. Foods such as nuts, fish, chocolate, berries, or milk are common triggers. Other possible triggers include: insect bites, viral infections, or a medication.
Chronic hives. Despite allergy testing and other advanced laboratory tests, the cause of chronic hives is usually never determined.
Physical hives. The most common triggers are cold, sun and water.
Other triggers of hives include: stress, deodorant or perfume, pets, fungus, bacteria, or a disease.
Triggers like exercise induced hives are rare. The most common causes are foods, allergic reactions, or hives caused by nerves.
Treatment of hives
If you have hives caused by nerves or stress, taking stress management courses may help. For other types of hives such as food or exercise induced hives, the first thing you should do is see your doctor. If a medication or viral infection is causing your hives, they are easily treatable.
The doctor will run tests and try to identify the cause of the hives. In most cases, the cause can’t be identified.
Doctors then will usually recommend an antihistamine or a steroid to relieve the symptoms. The goal of this treatment is to relieve the symptoms, and hope that the hives go away by themselves. There are no approved medications that can cure hives, and there is no guarantee that they will go away on their own. There is only hope.
For this reason, many people look into alternative and natural treatments. Natural treatments have no dangerous side effects, and for many people, can be an effective treatment for hives.
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