Hives are a condition also known as urticaria that is caused by an allergic reaction. In appearance, they are red and raised. Each one can be as small as a pencil eraser, or up to several inches across in diameter. They may also join together to form larger welts or patches. They can cause an itchy sensation and may even feel as if they are burning. The condition can appear anywhere on the body. Some forms of the condition may even occur under the skin. In this case, there are no red markings, but the skin can become very swollen, especially on the face around the eyes and lips and at the hands and feet.
Hives usually appear very quickly, right after exposure to whatever it is that the body is allergic to. The condition can last for an hour or longer, but usually disappears almost as quickly as it came. Most cases have disappeared within a day. However, some cases of this condition can be prolonged, lasting for weeks at a time, or may even be chronic. People suffering from a chronic condition may also experience other symptoms such as trouble breathing, gastrointestinal issues or unexplained aches and pains. This is due to the effect of the condition on the internal muscles and organs.
There are a wide range of things that can cause an allergic reaction that results in hives. For some people, a certain medication, whether it is taken internally or used topically, can cause a reaction. For others, it is a certain food. Common foods that result in this condition include dairy items, certain fish or shellfish, nuts, or any number of different fruits and vegetables. The condition can also be caused by bites from insects or spiders. For other people, the cause is even stranger. An outbreak can occur due to vigorous rubbing or scratching, or can even be due to an allergic reaction to the patient’s own sweat.
For the most part, an outbreak of hives is not life threatening and usually comes to an end within a few hours, if not sooner. However, the experience can be very uncomfortable and annoying. People that experience an occurrence of the condition can use cool clothes of take a dip in a cool bath to relieve the itching or burning sensation. Once a doctor has looked at the patient experiencing the problem, a soothing cream may be prescribed.
The best way to control the condition and stop another outbreak from occurring is to determine exactly what it is that is causing the problem. Sometimes, simply thinking about what new things a person has tried or used can help determine what the allergen is. Other times, patients may want to consult a doctor, who will give them a thorough examination and may perform a standard allergy test to find the cause of the problem.