Allergy Symptoms as Hives

August 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Allergies

Hives is a common form of allergy characterized by itchy red rashes on the skin. It is known as allergic urticaria in medical terminology and many things can produce the type of allergic reaction characterized by hives.

Food allergy is one of the main causes that can lead to hives. Many people develop allergic reactions by having shellfish, milk, eggs, or peanuts. Scratching is what causes complications with hives because itchiness is the main problem in this type of allergic reactions as the bumps are hardly painful.

Hives may result from the administration of penicillin or other antibiotic drugs as many of these can give rise to allergic reactions in people. Other medicines that can form the cause of allergy are ibuprofen, aspirin etc.

Hives is seen in people as a result of contact with pollen or animal dander. Insect stings or bites from a bee or a wasp or a spider can also result in allergy. Severe allergic reaction in such cases can even lead to breathing difficulty. Anyway, even those who have mild allergy symptoms would show the red bumps characteristic of hives.

Any potential allergens that can cause allergic reactions in human beings can lead to hives as well. Conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, hay fever etc. have typical allergy symptoms which are hives. The similarity here is that all of these result from the production of excess histamines and cytokines. This is what causes swelling.

How to control hives

For allergy, prophylactic measures are better than treatment, as much as possible. Keep the home and surrounding clean to avoid insects or prevent things like mold growth. When allergy symptoms appear, they can be controlled a lot, but there is no lasting cure for allergy.

A cold compress would help to quell some of the allergy symptoms like swelling and itching. A cold shower also may work sometimes. Scratching has to be avoided since it would worsen the allergy symptoms by bruising the area.

Over the counter medicines like Claritin (loratadine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) are effective in combating allergy symptoms. Benadryl tends to make the user a little drowsy while Claritin does not. Common prescription drugs used in allergy control are Allegra (fexofenadine) and Atarax (hydroxyzine). When allergy symptoms are severe doctors may prescribe any oral corticosteroid.

Red bumps or rashes may sometimes be a skin problem and not a case of allergy. Professional help may sometimes be necessary for diagnosis, though those who have been subject to allergic reactions before may be able to make out the difference. Hives can also be similar in appearance to contact dermatitis which results from the skin coming into contact with the oil of poison ivy.

Allergic reactions in human beings are believed to be controlled by genetic factors to a certain extent as allergy problems are found to run in families. Individual sensitivities, however, vary. Those, who are too easily prone to allergic reactions, should ideally keep with them auto-injectors like EpiPen, with which they can self-administer advised doses of epinephrine. It helps to temporarily control allergy symptoms and prevent extreme problems like anaphylactic shock.