Hives is one of the most common causes of skin inflammation. In medical language it is an allergic reaction to the skin causing localized redness, itching and swelling to the affected area of the skin. Hives is also known as Urticaria and can appear on any part of the body including lips, tongue, face, ears and throat. Chronic hives treatment need help of specialists. Hives appear as raised itchy red areas on skin and may vary in size and if they join together forming larger affected areas then they are called plaques. These rashes may last for a few hours or even for a day and they do not leave any lasting marks on the skin. Usually these patches grow and recede in less than a day but they may be replaced in another area by new rashes in other locations. If there is swelling in the airways, it may even cause breathing problem.
Hives can be either acute or chronic. Acute hives last from less than a day to six weeks and chronic hives may last for several weeks to years. Hives are generally not related to serious or long term illness or complications. They are commonly treated by antihistamines. Hives are more common in women than in men. They can be very annoying at times but they resolve on their own without any major complications and are always almost temporary. The most common cause of acute hives is a viral infection that affects particularly children.
Causes of Hives on Skin
Hives are an allergic reaction and any such reactions can be caused due to various factors like chemicals in certain foods, sunlight exposure, insect stings or certain medications. Our body’s immune system is responsible for protecting our skin from foreign infections. When any normal harmless substance shows reaction on your skin, it is termed as an allergy. When any such substance called the allergen is inhaled or ingested or comes in contact with the skin you get an attack of hives. This reaction interacts with the immune cells which reside in the skin, in digestive system or in airways and release histamine and other chemicals from cells called mast cells into the blood stream. This chemical reaction in the blood vessels become porous and allows the fluids to accumulate in the tissues causing swollen reddish patches on the skin called hives. Due to some chemical releases the nerve endings in the affected area become sensitive causing itchiness of the skin.
Substances that cause Hives
A wide variety of substances in our daily life may be the cause of these types of allergic hives on your skin. They include eggs, milk, strawberries, nuts like peanuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts, tomatoes, soy, wheat, food additives and preservatives, fish and shellfish. Another common culprit that causes hives is some of the medications like flu vaccines, penicillin, sulfa or other antibiotics and tetanus toxoid vaccines. In some sensitive people bites of mosquitoes, fleas and scabies, bee wasp and hornet sting also is the cause for hives. There is a possibility that hives may arise from friction, changes in weather conditions and exposure to sunlight and it needs skin hives treatment.