Hives are red, raised and itchy welts on your skin which may appear and disappear without apparent reasons. The size of hives varies from a dot to as large as a plate. Hives may last for a day but for worse conditions, it can last days, weeks or even months or years. Read about What is Hives and What Causes it.
Hives are commonly classified as acute and chronic. Acute hives occur for a short period of time while chronic hives lasts longer than six months and occur mostly in young adults. Women also have the tendency to suffer from chronic hives than men.
Hives may occur when cells lining the small blood vessels of the skin release chemicals, the most common of which is histamine, in the bloodstream and skin. This chemical histamine is responsible for itchiness, watery eyes, runny nose and other allergic reactions. The swelling and itching is attributed to the dilation of the walls of small blood vessels wherein fluids are allowed to leak into the surrounding tissue.
There are several factors that may cause the occurrence of acute hives. Insect bites, viral or bacterial infections or mere pressures on the skin may cause hives. Even too much exposure to sunlight may cause hives. When it comes to foods, shellfish, fish, milk, nuts, eggs and fresh berries trigger hives. It is proven that fresh foods cause hives more than cooked ones. Even medications may cause hives, such as antibiotics, aspirin and other pain relievers. For chronic hives, however, there is no link proven between foods or medications to having it. It can be due to genetics, environment and your immune system.
While we may not be disturbed by minor hives, we should not totally ignore it. We need to keep an eye on it so that when it gets worse, we can get the medical attention that we need. Remember that prevention is still better than cure.
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