Hives, also known as urticaria, is an outbreak of pale, red wheals on the skin in response to an allergic reaction, nerves, or otherwise unknown reason. They form from a response to the chemical histamine which causes the plasma in blood to leak out of the vessel and into the space beneath the skin. Hives can appear precipitously and anywhere on the body including the face, lips, tongue and throat. They can vary in size on the skin. Some wheals can get as large as a saucer or small dinner plate. They often join together and form larger areas or plaques. Angioedema is hives under the skin surface. It can cause swelling that can be life-threatening such as if it involves the throat, lungs and tongue.
What are the symptoms?
The main complaint is itching, however when there is angioedema in the lungs or tongue or throat the patient may suffer respiratory distress.
Can it be treated?
Because hives is a reaction caused by histamine release, blocking this release with over-the-counter anti-histamines may work to control hives. With very large reactions or mild angioedema a prescription medication such as a steroid may be more appropriate. For severe reactions involving the airway, patients should go directly to the emergency room for care.
How can MCare M.D. help?
If you have you have hives or are itching after a known exposure, let us know us everything during your meeting with your MCare M.D. doctor. Be prepared to tell us when, where, how long…everything. Don’t worry. Everything you tell us is completely confidential. If the doctor thinks that you require prescription medications he or she will send an order to the pharmacy of your choice instantly.