Plagued With Hives? Here is What You Need to Know About This Condition





Known by the clinical term of urticaria in medical circles, hives are red and itchy welts that form from a skin reaction. Welts can vary greatly in size and intensity and may come and go depending on external conditions. If these welts appear for six weeks or longer, they are clinically considered to be a chronic condition. Chronic hives can be extremely uncomfortable, making it difficult to sleep and participate in many activities. Here is what you need to know about chronic hives, what causes them, and how you can minimize the symptoms so that they are not a significant nuisance in your life.

Symptoms of Chronic Hives



There are a number of symptoms that identify the presence of chronic hives. The most obvious sign is red and splotchy welts that spontaneously appear in certain areas of the skin. The welts can come and go randomly with little explanation. Some hives may also be accompanied by painful swelling of the lips, inside the throat, and on the eyelids. Many sufferers of chronic hives also report extreme itchiness. This itchiness can be disruptive to daily routines and sleep patterns.

Chronic Hives Triggers



While it is generally easy to identify the triggers of acute hives, chronic hives are more difficult to figure out. What healthcare professionals do know is that there appears to be a connection between chronic conditions and environmental factors as they relate to the appearance of hives. Here are some of the most common triggers of chronic hives.


  • Stress - If your hives appear for no medically known reason, it may be that you need to get your stress levels under control. While it may be a stretch to say that stress is the primary culprit of chronic hives, too much stress can certainly make existing hives flare up even more.


  • Autoimmune Issues - As if dealing with regular bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating was not enough of a nuisance, those with celiac disease may also experience chronic hives. Because celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, it is no surprise that it also may trigger hives on a regular basis. Lupus is another autoimmune disease that may produce chronic hives, especially in the early stages of the onset.


  • Physical Contact - If your skin is particularly sensitive, you may be prone to developing chronic hives. Fabrics that rub against the skin or restrict movement are a leading cause of unexplained hives. Too much sun may also trigger hives.


  • Cancer - Although this is a rare side effect, it is not unheard of for individuals with cancer to experience chronic hives, especially if they are undergoing intense levels of treatment. New research shows that those with cancer of the blood or lymph nodes show the highest risk of developing chronic hives.


  • Temperature Changes - Fluctuations in the temperature may also spur the development of chronic hives. This varies between individuals with some people experiencing the onset of hives when the temperature is too high and others seeing the hives come on when the mercury drops. Excessive sweating due to warm temperatures may also aggravate the skin and provide a rich environment for hives to develop.



How to Treat Chronic Hives



The most commonly recommended way to treat chronic hives is through the use of antihistamines and topical anti-itch medications. You can help to prevent the dry skin that leads to itchiness by applying a fragrance-free moisturizer throughout the day. Wearing loose-fitting clothes made with cotton will also help to minimize the discomfort caused by the hives. Some people also find relief by using a cold compress applied to the affected areas of the skin. It is also a good idea to consult a professional dermatologist if all of the usual home remedies are not bringing relief.

While you may never completely understand the causes or triggers of your chronic hives, there are steps that you can take to mitigate the effect that they have on your daily life. Do not be afraid to experiment with a combination of treatments to find what works best for your specific case of chronic hives.



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