You decide to try something new at a restaurant when all of a sudden you break out into hives. If you are unaware of any food allergies, you may not have a clue what is going on. If you know you have food allergies; you are probably concerned. The hives may spread all over your body. Along with the hives, you tend to have a lot of swelling. Hives and swelling are clear symptoms of an allergic reaction. They are not life-threatening problems unless you experience swelling in your throat. Hives may also occur along with anaphylaxis. If this is the case, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you are only experiencing hives and swelling, there are many things that you can do to help relieve your problem and make you look human again.
Hives are raised swollen areas on the skin that occurs all of a sudden. Hives are also termed urticaria. They form as bumps or welts and sometimes as a mixture of both. Most of the time, hives are a result of allergies. Swelling also known as angioedema is a separate problem that occurs underneath the skin. You can have hives without swelling, but they are typically associated with one another. Swelling is localized in the hands, feet, face, and sometimes genitals. It is rare but possible for swelling to occur in the airways. More times than not, food and medicine are the allergens that cause the majority of hives and swelling. When you ingest something that you are allergic to, your body creates an immune response to it that creates hives and swelling. The body creates IgE antibodies against the allergens. The response is very quick. As soon as the IgE antibodies are made, they connect to the allergen and puts histamines into the blood which causes swelling and hives. Hives specifically are also dependent upon the type of allergy you have.
Both hives and swelling have many causes. Allergic reactions are the primary cause.
These things typically cause hives:
- Bee stings
Hives and swelling are not limited to just these things. Any allergy can cause hives and swelling. Hives and swelling may also be caused by totally separate things like stress and autoimmune diseases, and exercise.
Types of Hives and Swelling
There are different types of hives and swelling. The first type is physical urticaria. Direct contact with irritants or allergens creates physical urticaria. Sweating, sunlight, and pressure are common causes. The hives do not occur instantly. It happens after about an hour. Acute urticaria and angioedema occur from food and medicine. It lasts up to about a month and a half. Chronic urticaria lasts more than six weeks and may have more serious causes. Sometimes tumors and chronic infections are the primary cause of chronic hives. Dermatographism is simply hives caused by scratching the skin. It may be a result of rubbing the skin too hard. If swelling runs in the family, you may also be at a greater risk.
The symptoms of hives and swelling are evident. The swelling may create pain. Your bones and joints will get stiff limiting mobility. Hives are red and look abnormal. They cause a lot of itching. Wherever hives are, swelling usually develops; this raises the hives off the skin. Sometimes they form right away and may even go away and then reoccur. Hives grow and spread quickly. Once you notice these symptoms, it is time to obtain treatment.
When you get hives, it is sometimes hard to identify the source. Hives could come from something you ate, something in the environment, or a skin irritant. If you do not know the source of the problem, it will be hard to avoid The best treatment is to find an antihistamine. Benedryl is usually the first medicine of choice. If the hives and swelling are severe, steroids may have to be injected. Epinephrine is a steroid but is used for life-threatening hives and swelling.
After taking an antihistamine, your hives may not go away instantly so you should take special precautions not to make the problem worse. Be very careful about washing. Use gentle soap and lukewarm water. Aboud hot water and harsh soaps. Avoid heat. Heat will only make things worse. Stay in a cool room and keep yourself cool if you are outside. Try to wear clothes that is loose. Wearing fitted clothes may irritate the hives and cause you to itch more. Using an anti-itch cream will help relieve your symptoms. Make sure your skin is not dry. Dry skin will only make things worse.
Hives and swelling are two conditions that are highly associated. After a reaction, you may be alarmed because of the way you look. If the swelling is only on the extremities and in the face, you should not be alarmed. After a while, the hives and swelling go away. If you have trouble breathing or experience wheezing, you must go to the doctor to get immediate medical attention. It is also good to see a doctor just to identify the source of the hives and swelling. An allergist may do a few different diagnostic tests. Do not be controlled by hives and swelling. Find the source and obtain treatment.
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