Allergies and Hives: What's The Correlation?
The Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies (or allergic rhinitis, also known as "hay fever") occur when there is high pollen or dust in the air. Symptoms associated with allergies are similar to flu-like symptoms including itching of the nose and roof of mouth, the back of throat and the eyes. Sneezing is also frequent, as well as a general stuffiness in the ears, and swollen, red eyes. Whether an individual is a seasonal or year round allergy sufferer, they have to prepare for ways to deal with the triggered situations associated with the pollens and mold that appear during the year.
Allergy Related Hives
Hives (also called urticaria) are raised red welts of various sizes that are found on the surface of the skin. Hives are a sign that the body is experiencing a hypersensitivity reaction and are characterized by being very itchy, swelling, and can appear sporadically in batches. These batches can result in red colored welts (wheals) with clearly definable edges. This is due to the release of histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream, which is associated with an allergic response. The condition can be very common, especially for people who have experienced other allergic reactions, such as hay fever and angiodema.
Allergens that Cause Hives
There seems to be a hereditary tendency related to the development of hives. There are several allergens that can trigger an allergic response that results in hives, including:
- Certain types of medications
- Certain foods such as berries, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, shellfish and other types
- Animal dander (skin flakes). Cat dander is one of the more notable allergen types
- Insect bites such as bees, ants, wasps, and other types
- Sunlight exposure
- Certain types of infections
- Illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, leukemia and other types
Less common causes of hives can include:
- Lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Echinococcus infection (dog tapeworm)
- Hereditary angioedema
Treatment of Allergy Related Hives
The swelling of allergy related hives can be a mild to severe case. While there are several prescription and over the counter medicines available that can help to help remedy symptoms, more severe cases may require the necessity of emergency medical services and treatment. While most hives are uncomfortable, they are generally harmless. Self-care can include the use of a cold compress or soaks to avoid irritation of the area. Tight clothing should be avoided, as it can trigger a new outbreak. It is also important to avoid an allergen that may have caused the initial outbreak.
Taking Steps to Avoid Allergen Related Situations
While allergies and hives are fairly common conditions, no two cases are the exactly the same. It is important to recognize the allergens that trigger the outbreak of hives and take steps to avoid or properly treat those situations. Through careful planning and research, most potential problem situations can be avoided.