If you've ever experienced hives, you know how distracting and uncomfortable they can be. Hives, also known as urticaria, are raised, itchy, red welts on the skin that can appear suddenly and usually fade after a few hours or days. While they aren’t life-threatening, they may sometimes signal an underlying issue.
At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, we often field questions about the severity and implications of hives. This blog post aims to shed light on when hives can be a cause for concern, the underlying conditions they might indicate, and when you should seek professional help.
What causes hives?
Hives can occur for a variety of reasons, including allergic reactions to food, medications, or even environmental factors like temperature and humidity. Other common triggers include stress, infections, and physical stimuli like pressure or friction on the skin.
It's essential to identify the trigger to manage the condition effectively. At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, we conduct thorough diagnostic tests to determine what might be causing your hives so we can create a tailored treatment plan for you.
Types of hives
The two primary types of hives are acute and chronic. Acute hives last for less than six weeks and are usually associated with a clear cause like an allergic reaction. Chronic hives persist for more than six weeks and can be more challenging to diagnose.
Our team specializes in diagnosing and treating both types. Acute hives generally resolve once the trigger is removed, while chronic hives might require more complex treatment protocols.
Are hives dangerous?
In most cases, hives are more of an inconvenience than a severe health issue. However, they can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying condition such as autoimmune thyroid disease.
Our doctors strongly advise investigating persistent or recurrent hives. If you experience difficulty breathing or swallowing alongside your hives, seek medical attention immediately, as it could be a sign of a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Treatments for hives
Treatment for hives typically involves short-term use of antihistamines to reduce itching and inflammation. Depending on the security, we may prescribe steroids. If hives are part of a more significant allergic reaction, we might recommend an epinephrine auto-injector.
Given that hives can be tied to various triggers and underlying conditions, treatment plans at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut are highly personalized. We often combine medication with recommendations for lifestyle changes to prevent future outbreaks.
When to see a doctor for hives
While hives often resolve on their own, there are certain conditions when you should seek professional help. If you experience chronic hives, if hives cover a large area of your body, or if you experience other symptoms like difficulty breathing, it’s time to see a doctor.
Our practice offers comprehensive consultations and diagnostics for patients experiencing hives, allowing us to identify any underlying conditions and recommend an effective course of treatment.
Psychological impact of hives
Believe it or not, persistent hives can also have a psychological impact. The constant itch and discomfort can disrupt sleep and daily activities, leading to stress and anxiety. This is yet another reason why professional diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
If you’re experiencing persistent or severe hives, don't hesitate to seek guidance from our team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut. We're here to offer expert diagnosis and personalized treatment plans so you can effectively manage your hives and protect your overall health.
To set up a consultation to evaluate your hives, call our office in Manchester, Connecticut, or book your request online today.