Urticaria (Hives)

Urticaria (Hives)

Medical and cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Kory Kitagawa is head of Kitagawa Dermatology in Honolulu. He and his fantastic team offer thorough consultations to find out your specific skin condition, and they follow it up with outstanding treatment from a variety of state-of-the-art options for many skin issues, such as urticaria, commonly known as hives.

To find out more about your urticaria triggers and managing your condition, contact board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kitagawa at Kitagawa Dermatology by calling 808.533.4434 today for a hives treatment consultation or to learn more about our medical services.

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What are Hives?

Hives is the common term used for a skin condition called urticaria, a reaction on your skin that triggers itchy welts that can be either white or red. About one in five Americans is afflicted, which begins as a patch of moderately to severely itchy skin that becomes various sized welts.

Normally, urticaria is not a long-term condition, but if it lasts longer than six weeks, or if the welts occur again and again over several months or even years, the condition becomes chronic urticaria. Though it may not threaten your life, the chronic hives condition is uncomfortable. It can disrupt sleep and your daily routine, and it could be a harbinger of a latent health issue that has yet to come to light, such as a thyroid problem.

Various hives treatment options are available for your symptoms in Honolulu, such as anti-itch creams or antihistamine medications.

Urticaria Symptoms

Hives symptoms can vary dramatically. It starts as a small red bump that looks like a simple bug bite that can appear and grow anywhere on your body. Urticaria can last for just a few minutes or a few months. As the one hives bump becomes many, you’ll notice that they change shape, disappear, appear somewhere else, and more. The bumps may be red or flesh-colored, yet turn white when pressed. The sooner you understand the signs of urticaria, the faster you can receive effective hives treatments.

For chronic hives, other signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • A series of red or white welts on the face, torso, arms, or legs
  • Welts of various sizes, changing shapes, and states of appearance
  • Severe itching
  • Swelling accompanied by pain or burning of the throat, eyes, lips, hands, feet, and more
  • Flare-ups caused by stress, heat, and/or exercise

See your doctor if:

  • Your urticaria condition is severe
  • Your condition doesn’t respond to hives treatment
  • Your hives continue to appear for several days

Get emergency hives treatment immediately if:

  • You feel dizzy
  • You experience severe chest tightness or respiratory trouble
  • Your tongue or throat is swollen

Triggers or Causes of Urticaria

If urticaria is suspected, various methods can be utilized to find your trigger: a skin test, a challenge test, a blood test, or a urine test, among others. Hives triggers include:

  • Food (particularly nuts and shellfish)
  • Pollen
  • Plants (such as poison ivy)
  • Cold or heat
  • Medications (particularly ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain antibiotics, such as penicillin)
  • Sun exposure
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Latex
  • Pet dander
  • Bacterial infections (such as strep throat)
  • Viral infections (including the common cold)

While medical professionals have extensive understanding concerning hives, there is some uncertainty about how this condition becomes more troublesome and chronic. Additional urticaria triggers are suspected beyond what is currently confirmed, including insects, infection, stress, alcohol, food additives, scratching, pressure on the skin (such as skinny jeans that are too tight), and more. Read about more urticaria causes at wikipedia.org.

Hives Treatment and Preventative Measures

Common hives treatments include cool compresses for itch relief, prescription antihistamine medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and more. Oftentimes, a combination of hives treatments is even more effective than a single one.

For reactions that swell your tongue or lips, or that cause breathing complications, you may need an epinephrine shot, so it’s a good idea to keep one handy if you know that one of your triggers causes that kind of reaction. If you don’t keep an epinephrine injection around, you may need emergency care.

If you know your hives causes and triggers, especially if you have physical urticaria (caused by something physical, such as sun exposure), then preventative measures through avoidance is your best cause of action. Even when skilled urticarial treatment helps, hives avoidance is best. These actions include:

  • Don’t eat foods you know to be a trigger for urticaria. Or if one of your triggers is a common ingredient in many foods, ask if you suspect it may be in the food you’re about to eat.
  • Avoid anything causing you to rub or scratch your skin, such as harsh soaps or frequent showers.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes if you’re susceptible to pressure hives.
  • If exposure to cold brings on your hives, avoid exposure to cold air by dressing warmly and covering exposed skin. If you’re thinking of swimming in a cool pool or ocean, don’t do it alone and make sure you have an epinephrine injection pen.
  • Wear sun-protective clothes and sunblock.
  • Don’t take medications you know or suspect are some of your urticaria triggers.

Schedule a Hives Consultation with Kitagawa Dermatology

Urticaria can have a variety of triggers, so if you’re not sure about yours, or if you want to learn more about how to treat your condition, Dr. Kitagawa and his staff in Honolulu will be happy to answer all of your questions.

Relief from hives is possible with skilled urticaria treatment that understands your needs, so call 808.533.4434 or contact Kitagawa Dermatology online today to schedule an appointment if you suspect you are experiencing this or any other skin condition. Effective relief through hives treatments is possible today.

Next, read about Vitiligo.