Many individuals can go their entire lives without dealing with urticaria (more commonly known as hives) -- red, itchy welts and patches of raised skin that can appear and disappear seemingly at random or in response to stress, a new soap or laundry detergent, or even seasonal allergies. However, those who find themselves periodically dealing with hives that have no known origin can find this process frustrating at best and nearly debilitating at worst. Read on to learn more about some treatment options for recurring hives, as well as some tips for tracking down their cause once and for all.
What causes some people to be more susceptible to hives?
Like fever, sneezing, and even vomiting, hives can be an autoimmune response to biological stress you're experiencing -- and because hives can be brought on by stress, allergens, internal infections, insect bites, or even a substance or scent you've been using for years without incident, tracking down the source of hives can be a frustrating process. Some individuals seem to be more susceptible to hives than others, perhaps because their immune systems are more sensitive and prone to release histamines in response to certain environmental factors that may go unnoticed by others' immune systems.
If you're someone who is prone to hives, you'll want to be extra cognizant of any changes in routine or diet -- in some cases, even introducing these changes slowly so that you'll be better able to isolate and identify the specific cause of your hives. For example, you'll probably want to wash a new shirt with the laundry detergent you've been using for years rather than test out a new detergent on a garment you've never worn before.
What are some of your treatment options after hives have appeared?
Even if you've identified the source of your hives and have made efforts to eliminate the source from your daily life, it can take a few days or even a few weeks for the hives to subside and the itching to stop. In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take to bring quick relief, including:
- Over-the-counter antihistamine medication, which should reduce the itching;
- Colloidal oatmeal baths to promote skin healing and prevent itching;
- For hives that are open or oozing, a topical antibacterial ointment covered with some gauze can prevent infection and help you avoid contaminating your clothes with fluid.
Taking these steps during the healing process can go a long way toward improving both your physical and mental states when dealing with unsightly red skin patches and incessant itching. Contact a business, such as Southern Allergy and Asthma PC, for more information about treating hives.