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Resnik Skin Institute
2630 Center
2630 NE 203 Street # 105
Aventura, Florida 33180
T: (305)692-8998
F: (305)692-8606
info@drresnik.com
Skin Conditions Index : Hives


URTICARIA (HIVES)

Urticaria is the name given to a skin condition characterized by red, raised welts or hives. The individual hives may come and go, with the patches being present in different areas at different times. For medical purposes, hives are usually divided into Acute Urticaria, which lasts up to 6 weeks, and Chronic Urticaria which may last much longer.

Urticaria itself ordinarily is not dangerous, with the exception of the very rare person who experiences swelling of the tissues of the air passages similar to the swelling of the skin. Urticaria should be considered a symptom rather than a disease. In other words, it may be evidence of a problem located elsewhere than on the skin surface. With the acute, temporary form of hives, usually no tests are necessary as the problem often disappears after a short time (for example, hives related to eating a specific food to which a person is allergic). With Chronic Urticaria, extensive testing and medical investigation is often done in order to detect a treatable underlying cause. In several large studies done at major medical centers, extensive testing failed to detect a specific cause nearly 95% of the time in the chronic form of hives. Unfortunately, almost 50% of persons with chronic urticaria will still be troubled by hives after 5 years.

CAUSES OF HIVES
  • Allergy to medicines.
  • Allergy to foods.
  • Allergy to inhaled material (e.g. pollen
  • Certain Infections.
  • Insect bites.
  • Certain Internal Diseases.
  • Anxiety and nervousness.
  • Exposure to cold, heat and direct sunlight
  • Increased Sensitivity of the skin to rubbing or pressure
GENERAL APPROACH TO URTICARIA

ALL DRUGS TAKEN BY THE PATIENT WITH HIVES ARE POSSIBLE CAUSES:
Especially to be suspected are aspirin, codeine, penicillin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and blood pressure medications. Eliminate every nonessential over-the-counter medication such as cold and sinus tablets and decongestants, medication for headaches, cough medicines, lozenges, mouth washes, laxatives, douches, hemorrhoid medications and suppositories, vaginal suppositories and medications, vitamins and tonic water, and so forth.

Ideally, all the medications you have taken during the entire period that the hives have been present should be eliminated entirely. However, one or more of your medications may serve essential functions, such as control of blood pressure or diabetes. If this is so, the doctor who originally prescribed it for you should be asked to prescribe a chemically unrelated medicine which will accomplish the same purpose.

ALSO ELIMINATE OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT:
  • Feathers (pillow and quilts).
  • Dog, Cat and Horse hair. All pets should be removed from the household for at least two weeks on a trial basis.
  • Insecticides.
  • Perfume, Colognes and Face Powder.
  • All Cigarettes.
  • All Aerosol sprays (room deodorants, cleansing spray products, etc.).
  • It may even be helpful for you to spend several days and nights outside of your home to determine if the hives still occur when you are away from your usual environment.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO OBTAIN RELIEF FROM THE ITCHING OF HIVES:
  • Avoid hot baths, and heavy physical exertion, especially near bedtime. For this same reason, you should not use an electric blanket or extremely heavy covers. If you stay relatively cool, the hives will often be less uncomfortable.
  • Tightly fitted clothes or clothes made from rough fabrics such as wool or coarse knits often worsen the itching of hives. Clothes worn next to the skin should be soft and smooth.
  • Vigorous rubbing of the skin, such as toweling off after a bath should be avoided. You should pat dry after your baths.
  • Dryness of the skin often worsens hives. It is almost always helpful to moisturize the skin frequently, since this decreases the amount of friction between your skin and your clothing.
  • Aspirin and all combination medicines which contain it almost always make hives worse. It is not always obvious which medications contain aspirin. You should carefully read the labels for all non-prescription medications you use.
  • Eliminate use of alcoholic beverages since, like aspirin, alcohol is a histamine releasing chemical and often worsens hives.
  • Apply cold in the form of ice bags to control itching in specific areas. Quite often vigorous scratching will cause the skin to wheal and itch even more. Therefore, if you can deal with the itching you experience by doing something other than scratching, this would be helpful. Application of cold will often relieve the itching so that vigorous scratching will not be necessary.
  • We will provide you with an anti-itch lotion which will help to reduce the itching you experience, and this can be applied as often as you need it.
  • If you are asked to take antihistamine-type medications to control the hives, you should be aware of the following fact: These drugs should be taken with great regularity during the treatment period to produce maximum control of the hives. It is usually not sufficient to take these medications only when the hives are present. Rather, they should be taken continuously according to the directions on the prescription, in order to maintain a constant high blood and tissue level. Also you should know that most antihistamines do cause some drowsiness as a side-effect and you should be very careful if you drive or are involved in other activities which demand a high level of attention.

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Resnik Skin Institute
2630 Center  2630 NE 203 Street # 105
Aventura, Florida 33180 Telephone:   (305)692-8998