This patient information and photograph on Orlando HIVES Treatment, URTICARIA is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Urticaria is a peculiar disorder of the skin that can occur at any age. In common
terms this disorder is known as hives. Typically it appears as welts (hives) on the skin that are preceded by extreme itching. These welts can be large or small and often they form unusual patterns. Individual welts last only a few hours, but new ones may continually form. Recurrent outbreaks of hives may be separated by hours to days.
What causes it? Hives are thought to be an allergic reaction in the skin. Hundreds of things can cause hives. The most common causes of hives are medicines, foods, infections and, rarely, internal disease. Usually hives improve before the cause if found.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person Urticaria is a harmless disorder. Rarely symptoms suggesting a systemic reaction might occur, wheezing, shortness of breath or hoarseness, facial swelling, trouble swallowing or fainting. This is a medical emergency you
should have someone drive you to the hospital or call 911.
Can it be cured? The treatment program I put you on will help control or clear the hives, but it is not a cure. If we can discover what is causing the hives, and prevent further exposure, we may be able to prevent future episodes. Most hives last only three to four weeks even if we can't figure out a cause, but a few unfortunate individuals may have hives for months to years. If your hives last longer than six weeks, I will have to run special tests to check for internal disease.
What home care should I use?
- Most of the time hives require prescription medications to control symptoms.
- Over the counter Benadryl can sometimes help, but it has to be taken around the clock to work and often causes drowsiness. Sometimes over the counter Tagamet can help.
Will it spread? New hives may continue to form. Treatment may help to prevent or control further episodes. Hives can occur anywhere on the skin.
Is it contagious? Hives are not contagious and you can not "catch them" from anyone.