While the appearance and swelling can sometimes be dramatic, hives is a common condition that impacts many individuals. The itching, rash and swelling accompanying hives can make you instantly uncomfortable, especially if you don’t know the cause.
What Are Hives?
Hives are allergic reactions in the skin that can be caused by exposure to a particular food, drink, prescription drug or other allergen. Varying in size from small to very large, the swelling from hives is caused by fluid leaking out of small blood vessels into the skin and the resultant release of a chemical called histamine. Some hives may join together to form even larger swelling areas with varying sizes and shapes that may fluctuate.
When to See a Dermatology Expert for Hives
Most hives are not serious and the best treatment for hives is to determine the cause of the reaction and remove it. Hives are very common and most hives will disappear in a few days to a few weeks. While some mild cases may resolve on their own, seeing a dermatologist might be necessary, especially if your condition is severe or if symptoms persist.
Your Radiant Complexions Dermatology staff will conduct some tests to determine the cause of your hives, especially if you have had the condition for any period of time. This may include asking you questions, taking a health history, doing a physical exam and blood-work, and possibly doing a skin biopsy to examine a small piece of the affected skin so that the cause of your hives can be determined.
An antihistamine may be recommended to help provide temporary relief of symptoms, however the hives may not totally resolve until the cause has been identified and removed.

When to Seek Emergency Treatment for Hives
Rarely, hives can be a symptom of a more severe allergic and life threatening condition. If you notice feeling faint, vomiting, or having trouble breathing or swallowing, call 911 or seek emergency care right away.
If you have hives and are concerned about the condition, call your local Radiant Complexions Dermatology clinic for a consultation. Same day appointments are available!