Â If you suspect you suffer from symptoms associated with hives, scheduling a consultation is a great first step to receiving the treatment that works best for you.
In general, hives are easily treated and manageable. Hives are a common immune response triggered by allergen exposure and may cause discomfort in the form of itchiness, mild pain, inflammation, and raised smooth bumps on the skin (red or skin-colored). Hives may occur from a few minutes/hours to weeks at a time depending on the cause and your immunologist’s formal diagnosis.
Hives are characterized by the following symptoms:Â
- Smooth, raised bumps on the skin (red or skin-colored)
There are three types of hives that patients may experience at some point in their lives:
Acute Urticaria (Hives)
- This type of skin rash usually lasts from a few hours to several weeks (usually no longer than six weeks, as anything longer would be considered Chronic Urticaria). It is very common, with 10-20% of Americans experience symptoms associated with Acute Urticaria each year.Â
- The condition frequently develops as an allergic reaction to a particular insect sting, food, medication (over-the-counter or prescription), or a viral infection.Â
- Patients often report symptoms associated with Acute Urticaria after being exposed to latex, house pets, horses, bee/wasp/mosquito stings, egg and dairy products, nuts, or shellfish.
- This condition differs from Acute Urticaria, as Chronic Urticaria is characterized as hives that last more than 6 weeks (and maybe recurring throughout an individualâ€™s life). Auto-antibodies are produced in the body in response to the presence of an allergen. The auto-antibodies attack the bodyâ€™s mast cells and the stimulation of the mast cells results in light blood vessel leakage that leads to hives.Â
- Chronic Urticaria is not usually caused by a true hive, but instead a food additive; for example silicate, artificial coloring, sulfites, nitrates.Â
- Chronic urticaria is quite rare and is a bit more difficult to pinpoint the direct cause (as it can randomly develop and recur throughout life), the top rated immunologists at the Allergy & Asthma Center of Long Island will thoroughly evaluate your symptoms and work with you to come up with an effective, custom treatment plan to treat and relieve symptoms associated with Chronic Urticaria.Â
- Physical Urticaria typically develops from physical triggers such as sunlight, excessive heat (environmental), pressure (commonly from tight-fitting clothes), intense cold, water, vigorous exercise, or vibration from pneumatic drills.
- Hives may last from a few minutes to a few hours and may return upon interaction with the specific physical trigger(s). Many people with sensitive skin experience a form of physical urticaria as a result of friction with a particular allergen.Â
- Contact dermatitis elicits the same immune response as Urticaria (temporary or recurring skin rash, swelling, inflammation) and develops from any form of direct contact with an allergen. Symptoms such as itchiness, swelling, inflammation, pain, or smooth raised bumps may appear shortly after exposure and usually go away within a few minutes or hours. Contact dermatitis can be treated through avoidance and topical anti-itch cream (over-the-counter or prescription).Â
- A Patch Test is used for the diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis. Patch testing is a simple procedure to help diagnose allergic contact dermatitis and identify the causative agent(s). The chemicals included in the patch test include offenders responsible for approximately 85â€“90 percent of contact allergic eczema and include chemicals present in metals (e.g., nickel), rubber, leather, formaldehyde, lanolin, fragrance, toiletries, hair dyes, medicine, pharmaceutical items, food, drink, and preservatives.
- Skin Prick Test: During this quick, easy, and virtually pain free test one of our allergy specialist doctors marks your arm in pen with an assortment of numbers that correspond to a suspected allergen. A drop of each allergen is carefully placed next to its assigned number and a lancet is used to painlessly place the allergen just under the top layer of the patientâ€™s skin. After 10-15 minutes, the skin is evaluated by one of our top rated allergy specialist doctors for any inflammation or itchiness (which indicates the patient may be allergic to the sampled allergen), the affected areas are measured, and anti-itch cream is applied to the tested skin. One of our best in class board certified allergy specialist doctors will help you develop an effective treatment plan for your hives that works best for you.
- Specific IgE (immunoglobulin-E) Blood Test: This method involves the extraction of a small amount of blood from a patient that may suffer from acute or chronic urticaria. The blood sample is sent to a lab to identify and measure the level of IgE antibodies the patient has to the presumed allergen. This immuno-diagnostic test allows our top notch team of board certified allergy specialist doctors to provide patients with a detailed overview of any detected antibodies that suggest an individual may have chronic urticaria.
- Histamine Releasing Urticaria Test (CURT): this test is primarily utilized to determine if an individual is suffering from a Chronic Urticaria sub-group caused by the circulation of histamines that release auto-antibodies.Â
- Antihistamines: These kinds of over-the-counter and prescription medications are taken orally. Your top of the line immunologist may recommend over-the-counter antihistamines as a first step to treating your condition or may prescribe you stronger antihistamines depending on the severity of your condition. Antihistamines block a chemical created in the body called histamine (which creates allergy-associated symptoms). This medication reduces symptoms associated with hives and provides instant and long-lasting relief (up to 24 hours depending on the brand).
- Topical Anti-Itch Cream: Your best in class board certified immunologist may recommend an over-the-counter anti-itch cream to treat symptoms associated with hives. Depending on each personâ€™s immune response to the allergen, your top of the line allergy specialist doctor may prescribe a steroid cream to reduce inflammation, itchiness, and general irritation at the site of allergen exposure.
- Immunotherapy: If you suffer from chronic urticaria and possess specific antibodies, your top rated allergy specialist doctor may recommend immunotherapy. It may come in the form of a tablet or sublingual (under the tongue) drop that is taken gradually over a determined period of time. The method (shot, tablet, or drop) may depend on the severity of your condition and its root cause. Your best in class board certified immunologist will create a customized treatment plan best suited for your needs.Â
- Avoidance: Your top rated immunologist will advise you on what ingredients to avoid and how to effectively evaluate package labels that may contain an allergen that could trigger your hives.
The sooner you schedule an appointment, the sooner you can experience relief!
Allergy & Asthma Center of Long Island
891 Northern Blvd.
Great Neck, NY 11021