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4 Tips for Managing a Hives Breakout

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology estimates that about 20% of people in the United States experience hives at some point in their lives. Hives may be red or skin-colored and are typically about quarter size. They can, however, form into large patches of blotchy bumps that usually itch profusely and make life quite uncomfortable until they fade.

How should you respond to a hive outbreak, and perhaps more importantly, avoid one in the future?

Our board-certified allergy and asthma specialists at Premier Allergy & Asthma, with 10 offices in Ohio, are experts at providing outstanding care for a wide variety of allergy-related issues, including hives. 

Here’s more information regarding hives from our experts and their four tips for managing an outbreak.

1. Identify your triggers

Hives occur when your cells release histamine and other naturally occurring substances that produce the itching, redness, and welts associated with hives.

The usually itchy hive rash may be linked to various triggers, including:

Taking note of when your symptoms began, for example, shortly after a vigorous workout, may help you identify your specific triggers. Your Allergy & Asthma specialist can use this information to help narrow the cause of your hives and create an effective treatment strategy.

2. Check in with the doctor

We do recommend you see one of our allergists for an evaluation and possible allergy testing if you develop hives for the first time. Also check with your doctor if you begin to develop hives more frequently than usual or they last longer than in the past. Hives that persist beyond several days may become chronic and typically require diagnostic testing and advanced treatment.

Hives are rarely life-threatening but require immediate medical care when accompanied by difficulty breathing, dizziness, or swelling of the lips, throat, or tongue, or any other symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

3. Soothe the itch

Check with your doctor first, but a soothing soak in a tub of tepid water, to which you’ve added a cup of oatmeal, may bring welcome itch relief from hives.

For smaller areas, try applying a cool cloth or anti-itch cream to the irritated skin. Heat-related hives may respond best to time spent in front of a cooling fan. Hives caused by sun exposure may be preventable with sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face and neck.

4. Block the histamine

Your allergist may recommend you keep an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl on hand to take as directed when hives first appear.

If home remedies and over-the-counter measures don’t bring adequate relief, your Premier Allergy & Asthma specialist may recommend histamine (H2) blockers or an oral anti-inflammatory medication, such as prednisone. Advanced biologics can also be used to stop an overactive immune response, typically for chronic hives.

If necessary, your doctor can also request blood tests to determine whether an underlying condition, such as a thyroid disorder, is responsible for your skin rash.

Regardless of what’s causing your itch, we can help. Schedule a visit at Premier Allergy & Asthma today.  

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