Hives causes | Hives Treatment

Hives, also know a urticaria or nettlerash has several similarities to insect bits or stings – though it may vary from small spots to large, reddish weals. The skin becomes red and often feels burning and itchy.

It may appear in patches on areas of the skin which have been exposed to a substance the sufferer is allergic to, but it can appear on almost any part of the body. It also has the odd havit of appearing in one place, disappearing for no apparent reason and re-appearing elsewhere.

Causes

Hives is almost always caused by an allergy. It may be an allergy to something which comes into direct contact with the skin – like wool or a hairy plant – or to food or, occasionally, some chemical in the environment. You can’t catch hives but you could pick it up from contact with the allergen. Among the food allergies, eggs, strawberries and shellfish are common culprits, but other allergns include animal fluff, house dust mites, silk, perfumes, pollens, cow parsley, aspirin, penicillin and red and yellow food dyes. Exposure to heat, cold, or pressure causes hives in some people. The heat rast many people get from a hot bath is a form of hives.

Hives can also appear, with or without a simulataneous allegic cause, at times of emotional stress. Allergic complaints tend to run in familites, though there is no obvious rhyme or reason in the way they are passed on. However, hives is not a dangerous ailment (except in rare severe cases) so parents should not be unduly worried about a child developing it.

As with other allergies(such as hay fever) the body’s defence mechanim, the immune system, reacts towards the allegen as if it was a dangerous organism and in trying to neutralize it, releases histamice which produces the allergy symptoms

Treatment and outlook

The most important task is to identify the allergen and then try to avoid it – but this is not always easy.

Fortunately the attacks are usually temporary and fleeing, often clearing up without the need for treatment. Persistent hives is treated with antihistamine preparations.

Giant hives angio-neurotic oedema is a particularly severe form of hives. Large swellings appear in such places as the lips, eyelids back and throat. This needs treatment with drugs

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