Are My Hives a Sign of an Allergy?

One out of every five people will get hives at some point in their life, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. These raised skin welts can be as small as the tip of a pen or as large as a dinner plate.

Hives are caused when the body releases the chemical histamine, a response to inflammation, infection, or acute stress. When histamine is released, the blood vessels under the skin, called capillaries, are dilated. This dilation results in the appearance of hives. Often times, the exact cause of why a person has hives is unknown. Usually, histamine is released in response to an allergic reaction; allergies are one of the most common causes of hives.

Other causes of hives may include:

  • Infections
  • Excessive scratching
  • Anxiety
  • Sun exposure
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Pressure or rubbing on the skin

Acute hives will most likely alleviate themselves within hours or days. Chronic hives, on the other hand, which are defined as hives that last more than six weeks, are more serious. Typically, a review of potential allergens will help identify what is causing the problem as well as provide a guide for treatment.

Hives and swelling treatment options most often include antihistamines and corticosteroid medications, plus lifestyle modifications to help you avoid allergens and other hives and swelling triggers. Epinephrine (adrenaline) injections may be prescribed for more severe hives and swelling.

Windsor Dermatology offers in person and telehealth visit options. Call today to schedule your consultation.

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