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Hives (itchy red bumps or patches) can be caused by an assortment of medical conditions. Some may be mild reactions that will go away on their own. Others however, are more serious requiring medical attention. It’s the hives in the latter category that is what’s of concern here. The following signs will help you to know if you’ve got hives, where you get them from, and what you can or should do about them.
The most common characteristic of hives is red, pink, or flesh-colored bumps and welts on the skin. You might see a few, or a bunch clustered together, or patches all over a large part of your body. These welts can also be on areas such as the tongue and throat, which is why people get itchy there when having a reaction.
Welts coming from hives can be very itchy. Scratching them does nothing but make them even more so. But wearing loose clothing when welts appear can help in relieving the itchiness.
Welts With Distinctive Shapes
Hives usually cause welts to be oval-shaped. Sometimes, they may even be long or worm-like. Either way, they look nothing like round lesions that come about from other skin conditions, and are a sure sign of hives.
Blanching is a reaction to pressure of the skin that has broken out from hives. Skin that is raised, when pressed, will turn white. This is what’s called blanching, and will return back to the color red once released.
Hives After A Meal
Some foods are quite common in triggering hives in people. These foods include milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish and sometimes tomatoes. However, it’s more common to get a reaction from fresh foods, than ones that have been cooked. If you see red itchy spots and bumps after a meal, it’s most definitely to a be breakout of hives.
Hives Due To Medications
Aside from foods, many people experience a reaction because of a certain medication. Be it over the counter or prescribed, many drugs just do not sit well with some people. The most common culprits for a hives breakout are blood pressure meds, antibiotics like penicillin, as well as pain relievers such as Aleve and Advil.
For some, stepping outdoors can be a minefield. Certain bites, stings, and pollen – are all serious threats for those with allergies. Then there are those that are at risk right in their own home, as some allergic to heat, cold, and even water can produce hives. It’s always best to get a thorough allergy test from your doctor to find out what ubiquitous things you may be allergic to.
Hives That Disappear Quickly
It takes almost no time for hives to start appearing on the skin after contact with an allergen. Although, some take as long as two hours to show up. Then, the very same hives can disappear as quickly as they came, or, take a full day to go away. Ask your doctor about certain treatments that can hasten your hives disappearance.
Treating With Antihistamine
Hives come about because of a substance in our bodies called histamine. Histamine gets released by our cells in response to chemicals in the allergen. So the best thing to do if you feel a reaction coming on is to take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to alleviate or slow the effects of a reaction.
If you suspect you’re allergic to something, visit your doctor. He or she will run you through an allergy test. It is a test that involves lightly pricking the skin with a small needle, then dropping trace amount of the allergen on top. If a hive breaks out, you’re allergic. And how much you’re allergic will depend on the size of the hive.