Hives is a skin rash that typically lasts for fewer than 24 hours, but it can be incredibly irritating, or, in some cases, a sign of a serious allergic reaction. You can identify hives by the presence of itchy patches of red skin, which may be spread over a significant area of the body. When this rash is present, there are some steps you should take to relieve irritation and minimize future outbreaks.
Identify the outbreak trigger
A hives rash is generally a sign of an allergic reaction, so you should think about any external triggers that may have caused the irritation. Hives may be caused by direct contact between your skin and an allergen, or the rash could result from a food or medication allergy. It may be necessary to have an allergy test following a hives outbreak so that you are fully aware of possible triggers and able to avoid them.
Take an antihistamine
Regardless of the trigger, antihistamines can help reduce a hives outbreak. Other medications such as oral or topical steroids may also be used by patients who have had repeated outbreaks of hives.
Use a cool compress to control itching
Scratching irritated areas can worsen hives, but you can alleviate itching with a cool compress and loose clothing. A cool compress might also reduce redness of the skin.
Recognize emergency symptoms
When hives is accompanied by trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue, wheezing, or dizziness, you will want to seek emergency care, as there could be a more serious allergic reaction taking place.
With general dermatological services from Specialists in Dermatology in Tucson, you can manage skin conditions such as hives, eczema, acne, and psoriasis under the care of our skilled team of physicians. To schedule a consultation in our office, visit our website or call our office.