Hives are hard to ignore. These patches of itchy, swollen skin can range in size from a tiny pinpoint to a large, uncomfortable rash the size of a dinner plate.
When you have acute hives, they usually last for less than 24 hours. But they can also come in waves, coming and going over days or several weeks. However, it’s also possible to get chronic hives that last for six weeks or even longer.
Unfortunately, you can develop hives for several reasons, which can make their cause challenging to diagnose. Our team at Advanced Allergy & Asthma shared these insights into the most common medical causes behind hives.
Most people associate hives with allergies. That’s because hives develop when cells in your body release chemicals and histamines into your bloodstream because of a perceived threat.
Common allergens that trigger hives to appear can include:
- Foods, especially citrus fruits, fish, peanuts, eggs, and milk
- Food additives and preservatives
- Pet dander
- Insect bites
If you have a food allergy, you can usually expect hives to appear within 30 minutes of eating your trigger.
Believe it or not, infection tops the list as the most common cause of hives, and viral infections alone are to blame for more than 80% in children. In these cases, you often experience hives a week or two after your illness begins as your immune system tries to clear the infection from your body.
Common bacterial and viral infections known to cause hives include:
- Colds and flu
- Strep throat
- Urinary tract infections
- Infectious mononucleosis
You can even develop hives from the bacteria in your body associated with tooth decay.
In addition to infections, you can also develop hives because of autoimmune diseases. These diseases make your immune system attack tissue in your own body because it perceives them as a threat.
The most common autoimmune conditions seen with hives include thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Type 1 diabetes. You can also experience hives if you have lupus, vasculitis, and liver diseases.
If you have an autoimmune condition, you usually have other symptoms in addition to hives.
Trying to manage your health or other symptoms with medications can also lead to hives, especially taking:
- Antibiotics, like penicillin
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen
- Painkillers, like coding and morphine
- Muscle relaxants used in anesthesia
- Intravenous contrast dye used in digital imaging procedures
If you develop hives in response to a medication, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Whether you have acute or chronic hives lasting longer than six weeks, our team can help determine their cause. To find relief for your hives breakout, contact one of our offices in Ogden, Utah, by calling or sending a message through our online contact form today.