Hives lead to a lot of pain and discomfort in a person. But do you know what causes hives? The following article will tell you all about that.
Hives (urticaria) is a very common phenomenon that affects a lot of people and is more common in women than men. It is akin to skin rashes and shares most of its symptoms. And as all skin disorders go, it causes varying degrees of skin care problems. Hive symptoms include itchy and scratchy skin, along with redness and raised skin portions.
Hives are formed when the body comes in contact with an allergen (a substance that it is allergic to). When that happens, the body releases histamines from the mast cells into the blood stream to fight against the invaders, and these cause the fluid to leak from blood vessels. This then leads to swelling and raising of the skin. Hives can develop on any part of the body and may come in different shapes and sizes. They might even fluctuate from one part of the body to the other in a matter of hours. But what leads to hives and how do they come to be?
Duration of Hives
Most commonly, hives last for less than 24 hours and are mostly cured by themselves. In some other cases as with acute hives, the hives might come and go under 6 weeks. They might develop over different body parts and take about 6 weeks to be completely eradicated. Chronic hives will follow the same pattern and last for more than 6 weeks. Therefore, it is rather difficult to draw exact conclusions about how long do hives last.
The Causes of Hives
There have been several speculations about what causes hives. Some believe they come about because of allergies to certain foods, while others think hives are caused only due to bug bites. The causes of both types of hives―acute and chronic―can be different. Let us see the common causes of hives.
Hives happen as an allergic reaction to medication or foods. Where foods are concerned, the hives can appear immediately after consumption or a few hours after. Whereas, for different types of medication, the time of reaction might be different. Some might manifest immediately after the first dose and others might not even show until a week later.
It has been seen that food allergies are caused by the consumption of fresh foods as opposed to uncooked foods. The most common of which are tomatoes, sea foods, eggs, milk products, nuts, food additives, and wheat. Certain medication forms like painkillers, antibiotics, vaccines, and herbal remedies may lead to the formation of hives as well.
Hives also commonly appear as a result of an infection. These could include viral infections, which is a common cause for hives in children―like fever or influenza―or other conditions like strep throat, urinary tract infection, and athlete’s foot. This is the most common cause of acute hives. These could even be chronic infections like sinus infections, viral hepatitis, and stomach ulcers. Other infections include jock itch, chickenpox, and ringworm.
Certain insect bites like bed bug bites can cause hives. These can cause one to break out into hives quite instantly. Bed bugs release a kind of toxin into the body and the body reacts by releasing the histamines to counter the effect of the toxin. While doing so, the fluid from the blood vessels gets released into the blood stream and causes hives.
Animals and Plants
Certain animal bites and plants will cause the same kind of allergic reaction which leads to hives on the skin. Some plants like poison ivy can lead to this reaction and cause hives as well.
Some people have an allergy to certain chemicals and substances like dyes, cleaners, rubber items, and cosmetics. These could even include certain metals like silver, nickel, or plastic that is found in costume jewelry. Common elements that have been known to cause hives are soaps, detergents, latex, and chemical cleaners.
There are a few people who develop hives due to factors like sunlight, wind, cold, or heat. So also, certain types of exercises that lead to pressure and constant vibration to the skin can also cause hives.
Can stress cause hives? This factor is highly debated and there is no clear proof to determine whether this is, in fact, true. Though stress can lead to physiological reactions like body aches and headaches, it is not a very common phenomenon for hives to occur. Yet, there have been rare cases where it is believed that stress was the underlying factor.
Even though the factors of what causes hives have been listed, many times, it is difficult to determine an exact reason. Many doctors believe that even the elimination of certain factors will not ensure that the occurrence of hives is eliminated. Therefore, what is more important is that one looks into the hives treatment more fervently.
Disclaimer – This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.