Hives can be irritating and uncomfortable, and cases of chronic hives can significantly affect your quality of life. If you want to treat your hives, schedule a visit with the team of dedicated allergy, asthma, and immunology experts at Suburban Allergy Consultants, with clinics in Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, and Coatesville, Pennsylvania. You can book your appointment with Corinna Bowser MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, or Andrew Murphy MD, FAAAAI, by calling the office nearest you or using the online booking tool.
Hives, or urticaria, are itchy, raised welts that develop on your skin as the result of an allergic reaction to food, medication, or an irritant in the environment.
Hives can present themselves with a variety of appearances. They can be:
They can grow larger over time, change shape, and spread to different areas of your body.
Hives are typically a temporary problem that you can alleviate with allergy medications. Most hives go away within a few hours or a day, but in some cases, hives can be chronic and require medical attention.
Hives are the result of an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction happens when your immune system perceives a foreign substance as a threat and triggers a response. An immune response aims to help your body defend itself against harmful substances by releasing histamines into your bloodstream, which can cause swelling, itching, and hives.
Some of the particular allergens that can trigger a hive-producing allergic reaction include:
Hives can actually be triggered by conditions other than allergens, as well. Some other circumstances that can cause hives include:
Exposure to extreme temperatures can also trigger hives in certain people.
The team of physicians at Suburban Allergy Consultants have ample experience in treating and diagnosing hives. They can typically diagnose you from a physical exam and visually inspecting your skin.
If they suspect that your hives are the result of an allergic reaction, they might perform a skin test or blood test to determine what exact allergen is causing your hives. A skin test involves exposing your skin to various allergens and observing your body’s response. In a blood test, your doctor checks your blood for allergen antibodies to determine what you’re allergic to.
If your hives are mild and caused by an allergic reaction, you might be able to treat them by avoiding contact with the allergen. Your doctor might also prescribe antihistamines to counteract your allergic reaction.
If your hives are chronic and unresponsive to antihistamines, your doctor might recommend using oral corticosteroids to reduce your inflammatory response. If your hives are severe, an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) or biologics might help clear them up. Biologics are drugs that contain components of living organisms or are made from living organisms. They’re typically injected, rather than swallowed orally.
The team might also recommend immunology to help you with your hives. Immunology involves injecting your body with small samples of your allergen to help your body progressively build a tolerance.
To learn more about how Suburban Allergy Consultants can help alleviate your hives, schedule a visit today by calling the office nearest you or requesting an appointment online.