Whether they’re large or small, hives are unbearable. These red, itchy welts appear on the skin sometimes out of nowhere and without obvious explanation. Fortunately, most instances of hives will resolve within a few days. Other more serious cases of hives may last for weeks. At Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, our dermatologist will work closely with you to help you determine the cause of the hives and resolve them as quickly as possible.

What are Hives?

Hives, also referred to as urticaria, are an unexpected outbreak of red, itchy bumps that appear on the surface of the skin. Their cause may not be known, although it is often an allergic reaction. Hives may itch, burn, or sting, and cause a great deal of discomfort. Hives can appear at any location on the body, including inside the mouth, and vary in size. They may last only a few hours or a day or two before fully disappearing.

What Causes Hives?

Hives can be caused by several factors, both external and internal. Common causes of hives include:

  • Food
  • Fragrances in lotions and detergents
  • Medications
  • Infections
  • Airborne allergens

A form of hives known as acute urticaria can last up to six weeks. Acute urticaria is often caused by infections, food allergies, or medications. Parasites or unknown diseases may also contribute to acute urticaria. Hives which last for longer than six weeks are referred to as chronic urticaria.

How are Hives Treated?

Our board-certified dermatologist at Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology will ask you a series of questions in seeking to identify what triggered the reaction. Skin tests may be performed in order to determine what, if any, allergies you have. The best way to treat hives is by removing the offending irritant. Sometimes, however, this is not easy to do. Antihistamines are usually prescribed in order to control the symptoms of hives. For hives that are lasting longer than a day or two, corticosteroids may be prescribed.