Also known as Urticaria, hives are a fairly common skin condition resulting in itchy, red, swollen plaques also known as wheals.

Symptoms & Appearance
Hives are known to cause severe itchiness and be a source of major discomfort. Acute urticaria is usually an immune reaction to an infection, medication, or food, however many times the inciting factor is never known. If hives last longer than 6 weeks, there may be an internal cause such as autoimmune conditions, thyroid disease, hepatitis, or even malignancies and a work up may be warranted if other symptoms are present.

Physical urticarias can occur from different stimuli. Dermatographism is an extremely common type resulting from pressure, such as scratching. Other stimuli can include cold, heat, exercise, vibration, and even sun exposure.
Hives occurring with a sudden onset of concerning symptoms, such as fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or swollen lips, face or tongue, should be evaluated immediately in the Emergency Room.

After a careful medical history and physical exam, the most important step is to stop any contributing factors. Anti-histamines can be used to provide relief, and many times hives will resolve on their own. Allergy testing or blood work may be considered depending on other symptoms that occur.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.

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