Hives (urticaria) is a common cause of skin rashes and swelling that usually develops after contact with an allergen. If you suffer from hives, the team at Wasatch Allergy and Asthma can help. With offices in Salt Lake City and Riverton, Utah, Eric Chenworth, DO, and his team of allergy specialists have the expertise required to help relieve the effects of hives and address their cause. Find out more by calling Wasatch Allergy and Asthma or requesting an appointment online today.
Hives, also known as urticaria, is a common skin rash in which your skin starts to itch and develops pink or white, raised bumps, or swollen red welts. Hives can also cause a burning or stinging sensation. Around 20% of the population develops hives at some point in their lives.
Hives can be of various sizes from a few millimeters to several centimeters. A single hive typically fades over 24 hours, after which your skin goes back to normal without leaving a mark or bruise.
Sometimes a condition called angioedema occurs at the same time as hives. This causes swelling in the deepest layers of skin and underlying tissues. It can also lead to swelling of the airways that could affect your breathing.
Many different substances and environmental factors can trigger hives, but most often, their cause is elusive. Most cases of hives that last less than six weeks (acute urticaria) are the result of an allergic trigger. However, hives lasting longer than six weeks (chronic urticaria) are rarely due to an allergy.
You could have chronic hives for many years before they go away. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that hives resolve in half of patients within one or two years and that 80-90% of patients improve within five years.
You might go for long periods without any hives only for them to reappear months or years later.
Your provider at Wasatch Allergy and Asthma is likely to prescribe antihistamines as the initial approach to treatment.
Antihistamine medication helps with itching and reduces the welts typical of hives. These treatments aren’t a cure but do resolve the symptoms. You might need to use several different antihistamines together for the best results.
The older, sedating antihistamines that cause drowsiness aren’t normally prescribed because now there are newer nonsedating antihistamines. Nonsedating antihistamines last longer and have fewer side effects.
If your hives don’t respond to antihistamines, an alternative is omalizumab. Your provider at Wasatch Allergy and Asthma injects this medication under your skin once a month. Corticosteroids like prednisone or prednisolone aren’t suitable for long term use but may help with severe hives when used for a couple of days.
If you’re experiencing problems with hives, call Wasatch Allergy and Asthma today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.