Hives affect 20% of all Americans at some point in their lives, often causing severe itching and uncomfortable swelling due to angioedema. At South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group, the team can help you find relief from the itching with customized treatments that target your symptoms while also managing the underlying cause. If you have questions about hives or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the convenient locations in San Jose, Los Gatos, Mountain View, and Redwood City, California, or use the online booking feature.
Hives (urticaria) are raised, red bumps or patches called wheals that suddenly appear on your skin. Individual hives can disappear within 24 hours, but new hives may continue to develop, creating a reaction that lasts several days. You have chronic hives when the wheals last longer than six weeks.
Hives have qualities that set them apart from other skin rashes:
Hives can vary in size and may be oval, round, or worm-shaped. Individual hives can also merge into one large area.
Hives are itchy, sometimes extremely itchy, and many patients also develop angioedema along with their hives. Angioedema develops as fluids accumulate in the tissues beneath your skin, making the area red, swollen, and painful.
Hives are uncomfortable, but they’re not dangerous. However, if they occur together with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, stomach cramps, or a swollen tongue or throat, hives could be part of a serious allergic reaction that requires immediate medical care.
Hives are a common symptom of allergies to:
However, hives are also caused by other problems such as:
You can even develop hives in response to sunlight and changes in temperature.
Your provider at South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group examines your hives, reviews your medical history, and may run blood tests to rule out underlying infections or health conditions.
If this is the first time you’ve had hives and your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment other than medication to relieve the itch until the hives run their course.
If your provider suspects your hives are caused by allergies, they perform allergy testing in the office to determine which substances triggered the problem. The next step is to create a plan to avoid your triggers.
Hives are directly treated with medications, such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. If these medications don’t relieve the itching and inflammation, your provider may talk with you about prescribing immunosuppressants.
Chronic hives that don’t have an identifiable cause, such as allergies, often fail to respond to antihistamines. If you face chronic hives, the team explores other options, which may include advanced biologics that help control your symptoms and prevent your hives from getting worse.
If you develop hives and need to seek treatment, call South Bay Allergy and Asthma Group or book an appointment online.