Urticaria, or hives, is a common condition that is characterized by red or pink “welts” appearing on the skin. These can vary in size, from small to very large, and can be extremely itchy. An individual lesion often will come and go within 24 hours, but new hives can take its place, therefore a patient may experience hives for days to weeks.
In certain cases, the hives may be accompanied by deeper swelling of eyelids, lips, hands, and elsewhere. This is known as angioedema. If you notice swelling in your throat and find it difficult to breathe, you should go to the emergency room as this could become a life threatening problem.
Hives result as the body overreacts to an irritant. In most cases the direct cause of hives is unknown or occurs after a recent viral infection. Hives can also result from an allergy to a certain substances that may include: antibiotics, certain foods, and bee stings.
What treatments are available?
The swelling and itchiness associated with hives is caused by the rapid release of histamine from cells within the body. Therefore, we target our hives treatment to stop the release of histamine. We do this by implementing several different antihistamine medications. These medicines are very safe, we standardly use 4 times the normal dose. We recommend continuing on the hives treatment regimen daily until at least a week after the hives are gone. We utilize this treatment to allow time for the body to correct whatever caused the initial reaction.
In addition, we occasionally also prescribe a topical cortisone that you can mix with an anti-itch lotion to aid in the itch relief. Rarely, we will prescribe oral steroids or a steroid injection. These can help calm down the inflammation, but do not get at the base cause of controlling histamine release.
If you have questions concerning Hives or hives treatment, call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. David Myers, a local dermatologist in Utah County. At your visit, Dr. Myers will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your condition.
Dr. David Myers
Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.