Allergy Emergency: What is Really Causing Your Hives?
Allergies are the result of an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance and can manifest in many ways from stuffy sinuses to skin rashes. Hives are a type of allergic reaction that cause red and itchy lesions that occur when exposed to a triggering substance. If you can’t seem to pinpoint the cause of these reactions, see if any of the following can provide a clue.
Causes of Hives
Hives are often caused by allergens such as pollen, animal dander, and stings from insects. Since an allergy to latex is becoming increasingly common, hospitals and health care providers often ask about latex allergies before any procedures as well.
Foods can be a major culprit in triggering hives. The Mayo Clinic lists shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, and fish as the main allergens responsible for causing hives. These food reactions can be dangerous if swelling occurs with he hives. Try an emergency room or Midwest Express Clinic if you see swelling or other increased reactions.
Medications can sometimes cause adverse reactions, including hives. Drugs such as penicillin and pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may also cause breakouts. Even medications for reducing blood pressure cause induce hives.
Stress has been known to create breakouts of hives as well. Meditation and deep breathing can often be helpful in reducing hives when they are triggered by stress. Hives can even be brought on by more obscure sources. Some people have been known to develop hives when exposed to heat, cold, water, or sunlight. Since avoiding these allergens is nearly impossible, medication may be required to prevent outbreaks.
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Risk Factors of Developing Hives
Some people have a higher predisposition to developing hives. Some who experience other types of allergies have an increased chance of manifesting hives when exposed to allergen.
People with a family history of hives may be more likely to develop them as well. For example, if someone breaks out in hives when exposed to sheep’s wool, it is likely that their children will have a genetic predisposition to breaking out in hives when exposed to the same allergen.
Certain diseases increase the likelihood of a person spontaneously developing hives. According to the Mayo Clinic, diseases such as lupus, lymphoma, HIV, hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis and some thyroid disorders predispose their people to breaking out in hives. Anything that compromises the immune system, such as autoimmune diseases or blood transfusions may cause hives.
Knowing what causes hives is a powerful step in treatment and prevention. While often hives can be prevented by simply avoiding the irritating allergen, some triggers require medication to avoid outbreaks. When people become aware of what is triggering their hives, they are able to make informed decisions in how to eliminate them.