Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center
Allergy and Immunology & Allergy & Asthma located in Kingsport, TN & Johnson City, TN
Hives are red, itchy bumps that may last minutes or years and affect nearly 20% of people at some point during their life. Allergies are most often the underlying cause of the itchy rash. The allergy specialists at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee; and Abingdon, Virginia, which includes the leading physician in the field, Shailee Madhok, MD, are experts in the management of hives and can help you identify your triggers and provide treatments to alleviate symptoms. Call the office or book an appointment online today to schedule your hives evaluation.
What are hives?
Hives, also called urticaria, are a type of skin rash that causes red, itchy bumps to form on your skin. The rash may come and go quickly or last months and even years.
In many cases, hives have a specific trigger and may be a symptom of an allergy. However, you may also develop the itchy skin rash from an infection or stress.
Hives may either be acute or chronic.
Acute hives appear unexpectedly and typically clear up within a few weeks or sooner.
With chronic hives, you develop a rash every day for six or more weeks. The rash is usually itchy and lasts less than 24 hours.
What are hive symptoms?
Hives look a lot like bug bites. However, the skin rash has unique characteristics, including:
- Appear anywhere on your body
- Mildly to severely itchy
- Ability to change shape and location
- Create bumps that are red or skin-colored with clear edges
- Pressing on a red bump causes them to turn white, or blanche
Your hive symptoms aren’t typically life-threatening. However, if your hives include swelling of your throat that impedes your breathing, you need immediate medical care.
How are hive triggers diagnosed?
Identifying your hive triggers is essential to help you get relief from your rash. The team at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center works closely with you to determine the underlying cause of your hives. During your exam, the team reviews your symptoms, medical and family history, usual diet, and daily habits.
To identify your hive triggers, the team may conduct allergy skin testing. During the test, your provider pricks the surface of your skin with the suspected allergy trigger and monitors for a reaction. Common hive triggers include:
- Insect bites
- Pet dander
- Certain types of plants
Other potential triggers include infections, blood transfusions, or physical causes such as cold, heat, or sun exposure.
How are hives treated?
The team at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center develops individualized treatment plans for the management of your hives based on the severity of your skin rash and your trigger. Your treatment plan may include:
- Avoidance of your hive trigger
- Anti-itch balm
For severe hive reactions that include swelling of the throat, the team may prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector, also known as an epinephrine pen.
Hives may not be a serious health concern, but they can affect quality of life. Call Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center or book an appointment online to get relief from your hives.