Hives can create stinging welts or red patches on the surface of your skin in a variety of shapes and sizes. While hives can range from the extent of a pinpoint to a broad section of skin, they normally fade within 12 hours. These irritating welts are also known as urticaria, which is the medical term for hives. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Reuel Aspacio of Summerlin Dermatology in Las Vegas, NV can diagnose, treat, and prevent urticaria outbreaks for the 15% of the men and women that will experience hives at least once in their lifetime.
Hives are characterized by reddish, itchy bumps on the skin and most are caused by contact allergies. However, there are a number of other reasons for hives, such as medications, infections, and autoimmune disorders. During a private appointment at Summerlin Dermatology, Dr. Aspacio will go over your medical history, ask about your current medications, and perform a physical examination to determine the next steps in your treatment.
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Hives are caused by a number of factors. A single episode of hives is usually due to a virus or infection. These single episodes generally dissipate between a couple days to a few weeks. In other situations, hives can be caused by an allergic reaction from medications, insect bites/stings, nuts, and certain fabrics, and many other things. Stress and anxiety can also create a flare up in some patients. While these can be easily treated, a separate form of hives (known as physical urticaria) is a different story. Some of the causes of physical urticarias include but are not limited to: exercise, pressure, cold, heat, sunlight, and dermatographism. Dr. Aspacio will conduct a thorough skin analysis to understand what is causing the outbreak of hives, so then treatment and protocols can be provided to prevent additional outbreaks.
Symptoms can last anywhere from minutes to months, or even years.
While they may resemble bug bites, hives are different in several ways:
- Hives can appear on any area of the body
- Hives can change shape, move around, disappear, and reappear over short periods of time
- The red or skin-colored "wheals" with clear edges can appear suddenly and go away quickly
- Pressing into the center of a red hive makes it turn white (blanching)
Treatment for hives is generally through the use of a non-drowsy antihistamine, but also includes other medications that prevent irritation and swelling. These medications are taken for both chronic urticarias and brief episodes by preventing hives from forming. chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), is a type of hives that lasts for months and possibly years. This more serious form of hives is treated with antihistamines and omalizumab, an injectable humanized antibody, which helps reduce sensitivity to allergens and irritants.
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Regardless of the cause of your skin condition, hives can be uncomfortable, concerning, and embarrassing. If you are experiencing symptoms of urticaria, or already have an issue with outbreaks, it is a good idea to find out what is causing them. If you are willing to find the cause of your hives and get the treatment you need, reach out to Summerlin Dermatology and schedule an appointment so that you can get your hives under control.