About one in four people will experience hives at some point in their lives. Hives are itchy, red or white bumps, welts, or patches on the skin. The medical term for hives is urticaria. Most cases of acute, or short-term, hives are due to allergies. However, chronic hives that last for a long time, for months or even over a year, might be due to other factors. Here is what you need to know about chronic hives.
Causes of Chronic Hives
Most of the time, the cause of chronic hives is not known. Only a small percentage of cases of chronic hives are due to an identifiable allergy. While there is testing that can be done to discover the cause, such testing can be inconclusive and very expensive. For most cases of chronic hives, the best treatment is to provide a relief of symptoms rather than a cure for the cause.
Testing for Hives
If you have chronic hives, it is important to consider a possible allergy. The allergist will obtain a detailed history, and if indicated, perform allergy tests. Different forms of allergy testing are options, but the most common is a skin test in which a small amount of the suspected allergen is placed on the skin and monitored for an allergic reaction” I would delete all references to “patch test’ as this not generally helpful for hives
Relief of Symptoms
There are some things that you and your doctor can do to relieve the symptoms of chronic hives, even if they are not caused by an allergy or if the cause is unknown. Avoiding hot baths or showers, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and taking over-the-counter antihistamines are some of the things you can do on your own at home to reduce symptoms and make you more comfortable. Severe flare-ups of chronic hives might require your doctor to prescribe corticosteroids to help relieve swelling and inflammation.
If you have had chronic hives and you have not been tested for an allergy, contact us today for more information or to schedule your initial appointment.