Hives, medically known as urticaria is a condition that forms red and itchy rashes on the body caused due to a skin reaction. These rashes are also called as welts and the size varies throughout the reaction time and may constantly appear and disappear.
If the welts appear for longer than 6 weeks and recur frequently, it is considered as a chronic condition. Acute hives occur suddenly and disappear shortly in a few weeks.
Causes of chronic hives are not known and it can create discomfort, disturb sleep patterns, and affect everyday activities. The exact cause for the appearance of the acute or chronic hive is difficult to identify. Scientifically, the release of histamines (organic chemical) and other chemicals in the bloodstream lead to welts on the skin. The reaction can be triggered by certain medications.
Painkillers, insect bites, infection, extreme heat or cold, stress, exposure to light, physical activity, certain food, and beverages etc. can trigger a skin reaction.
Signs And Symptoms:
- Group of red patches or bumps on the skin, called wheels. It can appear on any part of the body
- Welt size may vary along with shape and occurrence
- Severe itching
- Signs may appear prominent with physical exercises, heat, or stress conditions
- The signs can remain for 6 weeks or more and recur unpredictably. Sometimes it recurs in months sometimes in years
Antihistamines, epinephrine, corticosteroids are the common treatment options. It is recommended to take precautions such as avoiding food and activities that trigger the symptoms.