Hives is a skin rash that often occurs as a result of an allergy, or allergic reaction. It normally consists of circular, raised welts on the skin. These welts are often itchy in nature, and occur in blotches on any part of the body; the limbs, throat, and trunk being the most commonly affected areas. Various symptoms and causes of hives can include allergic reactions to certain types of food consumed, insect bites, or bee stings. They can also arise as a result of an allergic reaction to a medication or pollen. Depending on the duration for which they last, the hives or urticaria can be chronic or acute in nature.
Symptoms of Hives
The most visible of all symptoms is the appearance of skin rashes.
- They occur in the form of raised red or white welts, that is, wheals or swellings, which may be of various sizes. Sometimes, the wheals present may only be in the form of a small spot, whereas sometimes, a single welt may even cover a large area of skin.
- More often than not, the area appears red, and there is a burning or stinging sensation there. The person may also feel that the area is very itchy. Sometimes, due to the itching, the affected skin becomes more raised and red than it originally was.
- Welts have certain characteristics, like they may get bigger, spread uniformly, join, etc. They may even disappear and reappear in the same place or elsewhere in a matter of minutes or hours. These welts commonly last for a day or so and are characteristic symptoms in men.
- When the center of the welt is pressed, it turns white, which is known as blanching.
This is a related condition, which may occur simultaneously with urticaria. In angioedema, the condition affects deeper layers.
- There are thick, firm welts that are seen as huge swellings. These may appear as tiny blisters or may even be as large as bullae.
- Pain and warmth is often felt in these regions. These swellings appear as edema of the dermis or the subcutaneous tissue. The edema may be so large, that it can even affect the functioning of organs or other systems in the body.
- When children are affected by hives, the edema may affect the face or related areas.
- There can even be difficulty in breathing or opening eyes, especially if the edema affects the eyelid.
Sometimes, hives may even have systemic effects.
- The itching may be so severe, that the person may land up aggravating his own pain and skin rashes. Thus, this could lead to an open wound, which increases the susceptibility of the person contracting an infection.
- Furthermore, there may be some alterations in the immune system of the person, due to which again, the person may contract an infection.
- In some rare cases, the person may have fever, difficulty in eating, and indigestion.
Thus, these were the various symptoms, that would help determine treatment options for dealing with the condition. Since this condition normally resolves on its own, and is not a major health concern, one needn't be alarmed. However, if there is a lot of swelling, which causes difficulty in breathing and pain, it is best to visit a doctor, and get it treated.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of medical experts.