What are hives?
Hives which are also known by the name urticaria are red, itchy, raised welts that are found on the skin. They usually appear pink, red, or flesh-coloured, and sometimes they also hurt or sting. In most cases, hives are caused due to an allergic reaction to certain food or medication or an allergic reaction to some irritant in the environment.
It is found that hives are actually a temporary problem that may get alleviated by taking some allergy medications. Most of the symptoms of rashes go away on their own. However, some severe symptoms of hives need to stabilize.
Types of hives
1. Acute Hives Or Urticaria
These types of hives are those which last for less than 6 weeks. Some common causes of acute hives are food, medication, infection, certain diseases, and insect bites.
Hives are caused more often by fresh foods than cooked foods. The most common foods that can cause hives are fish, nuts, tomatoes, chocolate, fresh berries, milk, and eggs.
2. Chronic Hives Or Urticaria
These are the kind of hives that last for more than 6 weeks. The causes of chronic hives are harder to find than those causing acute urticaria. For most people, it is impossible to find the cause of chronic urticaria. But some studies found that in some cases, the cause of chronic urticaria can be thyroid disease, infection, cancer, hepatitis, and more.
Women are more prone to hives as compared to men during their lifetime. Most women suffer from CSU when they are between 20 to 40 years of age.
What causes hives?
Hives are caused when your body releases histamine in large quantities, generally itchy bumps and raised patches. When your immune system recognizes some threat to your body it releases histamine and other chemicals that were stored inside the cells of the body, this function performed by your immune system protects you from any infection.
In such cases when your immune system mistakenly releases histamine and in parallel hives develop, the cause can be one of the following...
- An allergic reaction to something
- Overreaction to sweat, heat, or cold
- Even some pressure on the skin like scratching, tight clothing, etc.
When hives are caused due to some allergic reaction, it is mostly an allergy to:
- Food allergy
- Bug bite or sting
- Pet dander
As it is noticed that some people use to get hives when they got infected with UTI, strep throat, or even COVID-19. Also when a medical treatment like a blood transfusion or radiation therapy.
What are chronic hives?
Chronic hives are also regular hives but usually last more than six weeks and recur on a frequent basis. It is a condition in which raised welts (hives) appear on a frequent basis on various parts of the body. They have different sizes and shape patterns and are usually accompanied by swelling. A person suffering from chronic hives requires constant medical support in order to control the symptoms.
What’s the difference between hives and chronic hives?
Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin condition characterized by raised, itchy, and red welts on the skin. They can appear suddenly and may last for a few hours to a few days before fading away.
Chronic hives, on the other hand, refer to hives that persist for more than six weeks or recur frequently over a period of time. They can be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, or infections. Chronic hives can significantly impact a person's quality of life and may require long-term management and treatment.
What causes chronic hives?
Following are the causes of chronic hives:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Allergic reactions
- Physical triggers
- Stress and mental condition
- Hormonal changes
What are chronic hive symptoms?
- Raised red or pink welts on the skin
- Itching and rashes
- Swelling near eyes, lips, hands, feet or genitals.
- Repetition of the hive problem
- Long durations for more than 6 weeks
- Flares and remissions
Although hives are known to cause very uncomfortable and itchy skin, they are still for the short term and may disappear on their own with time without taking any medicines. But you should also look for new hives as they also pop up with time as the old fades away.
Hives can only be dangerous only if you are suffering from a severe allergic reaction and your throat starts swelling. In that case, you should immediately look for the doctor's advice.
Can chronic hives be cured?
In general chronic hives go away on their own with the passage of time, and there is a treatment that helps cure hives which helps keep your skin clear and clean.
Are chronic hives harmful?
Usually, chronic hives are not harmful, but in rare cases, the allergic reaction becomes more and that is when medical attention is immediately required.
Do chronic hives spread?
Hives are not contagious, that is they are not transferable from one person to another. But, if the hives are caused by infection then there are chances that it can be spread to other people.
10 ways to get relief from chronic hives. By American Academy of Dermatology Association, Sep 28, 2021.
Chronic Hives. By Mayo Clinic, Apr 25, 2023.
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