Hives (urticaria) are red, itchy welts that result from a skin reaction. The welts vary in size and appear and fade repeatedly because the reaction runs its course.
The condition is taken into account chronic hives if the welts appear for quite six weeks and recur frequently over months or years. Often, the explanation for chronic hives isn't clear.
Chronic hives can be very uncomfortable and interfere with sleep and daily activities. For many people, antihistamines and anti-itch medications provide relief.
Signs and symptoms of chronic hives include:
Ø Batches of red or skin-colored welts (wheals), which can appear anywhere on the body
Ø Welts that vary in size, change shape, and appear and fade repeatedly as the reaction runs its course
Ø Itching, which may be severe
Ø Painful swelling (angioedema) of the lips, eyelids and inside the throat
Ø A tendency for signs and symptoms to flare with triggers such as heat, exercise and stress
Ø A tendency for signs and symptoms to persist for more than six weeks and to recur frequently and unpredictably, sometimes for months or years
The welts that accompany hives arise when certain cells release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream.
Doctors often can't identify the rationale for chronic hives or why acute hives sometimes become a long-term problem. The skin reaction may be triggered by:
Ø Pain medications
Ø Insects or parasites
Ø Heat or cold
Ø Alcohol or food
Ø Pressure on the skin, as from a tight waistband
Chronic hives don't put you at any sudden risk of a significant allergy (anaphylaxis). But if you are doing experience hives as a part of a significant allergy , seek emergency care. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include dizziness, trouble breathing, and swelling of your lips, eyelids and tongue.
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