Have you developed patches of raised, itchy bumps on your skin, but are not sure of the cause? If so, you may be suffering from hives, and our knowledgeable team can help! Dr. Gray offers a number of different hive treatments at our Bellevue, WA office to help get you back to feeling your best!
What are Hives?
Hives, also known as urticaria, are raised and itchy welts on the skin. They can appear as skin-colored, pink, or red and can sometimes sting. Most cases of hives are caused by an allergic reaction to an irritant, food, or medication. However, they can also be caused by other factors such as stress, exercise, illness, or infections. They are usually a temporary issue, but in rare cases, can be chronic. Chronic hives may be a symptom of an underlying health issue such as celiac disease, lupus, thyroid disease, or more.
Individuals who have regular allergies may be at higher risk for developing hives. The most noticeable symptoms associated with hives include:
- Pink or flesh-colored welts.
- Appear in batches.
- Can grow larger and spread.
- May disappear and reappear and individual hives last less than 24 hours.
If you are experiencing hives with any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately, as these may be signs of an allergic reaction:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Tightness in your chest.
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face.
Hive Treatment Options
There are a number of treatment options to reduce the look and feel of your hives, including:
Detect and Remove Trigger: The best treatment option for hives is to identify and remove the trigger. However, this is not always easy and is sometimes not possible. Dr. Gray will work with you to best determine possible triggers.
Antihistamines: These work by blocking histamine in the body, which can cause hives. They provide relief from hive symptoms and can even prevent hives from forming.
Oral Steroids: Prednisone and other oral corticosteroids can help to reduce swelling, itching, and redness. They should only be used for a short period of time to control hives, as long-term use can lead to unwanted side effects.
Epinephrine Injections: For severe cases of hives, epinephrine injections may be used to prevent anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Xolair Injections: XOLAIR® (omalizumab) for subcutaneous use is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU, chronic hives without a known cause) in people 12 years of age and older who continue to have hives that are not controlled with antihistamine treatment.
In the meantime, while you are waiting for your hives to go away, there are some steps you can take to manage symptoms. These include applying cool compresses to the hives, sleeping in a cool room, and wearing loose-fitting and lightweight clothing.