what are hives and what is the remedies for it
different possible causes
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic
Hives (also known as urticaria) is a skin condition characterized by raised, well circumscribed (definite border), red swollen very itchy areas that involve both the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and dermis (thick layer below the epidermis which has blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, sweat glands).
Hives occur as a result of the release of certain chemicals into the skin eg histamine and other chemicals that promote swelling, redness and itching (other chemicals- bradykinin, leukotriene, prostagladins)
Classified as acute (if last less than 6 weeks) or a chronic (long term) if last longer than 6 weeks.
Since yours has been ongoing for 4 weeks, would be called acute (short term so far)
There are different types and causes of hives and the chances of total and complete resolution would depend on the cause/type
For acute hives/urticaria, the main thoughts are towards possible precipitants/causes such as:(1)recent illness
(2)medication use that could be causing it
(3) recent travel
(5)new perfumes, hair dyes, detergents, lotions, creams , clothes
(6)exposure to new pets (dander), dust, mold, chemicals or plants
(7)sun or cold exposure- there are some individuals that get lesions as a result of exposure to extremes of temp eg in cold urticaria, cold weather or swimming can cause a rash
(8)exercise- there are some persons who have activity induced hives/urticaria
(10)contact with nickel, rubber, latex, industrial chemicals
When the urticaria/hives has been going on for less than 6 weeks (acute) then no investigations are usually done but if it goes beyond the 6 wk mark then tests such as various blood tests may be suggested by your doctor eg blood count, ESR (checks for inflammation in the body), TSH (thyroid test), autoimmune screen (can sometimes occur due to autoimmune diseases- lupus, RA etc
Allergy testing may also be done earlier in the acute stage if you think that it may be related to one of the above causes.
When chronic- need to see a dermatologist
If you can find the definite cause of the acute hives eg by process of elimination or allergy tests and you can reduce your exposure to it or eliminate completely then this may stop the hives.
In terms of medications, the non drowsy anti histamines such as allegra, zyrtec, claritine- can be used.
These block some of the histamine in the body.
Some medications that are used for stomach complaints (pepcid , zantac) actually block another type of histamine in the body and sometimes they are combined with the normal antihistamines.
In severe cases, additional meds are added
In terms of home remedies- avoiding the cause if it is known, the use of baking soda or uncooked oatmeal baths may help with itching
Summary: (1) Hives are a due to release of chemicals into the skin
(2)can be curable if the exact cause can be found and treated- in some cases this may require a dermatologist
(3)baking soda and oatmeal baths may help with the itching, avoid cause if known
(4)antihistamines- also additional meds if antihistamines not enough
I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions