The condition known as hives is a common skin rash that behaves, often, like an allergic reaction with many possible triggers. Often, hives are triggered by a variety of food, medications, or environmental conditions. Heat, airborne allergens, stress, and underlying medical conditions can also cause hives to appear.
The Hives rash is reddish, blotchy, or a pattern of red welts that can be very itchy. This rash commonly goes away on its own, appearing quickly and fading in the period of a few hours or a day. In the meantime, this rash is not contagious, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also appear in toddlers and infants, creating a difficult scenario involving scratching that leads to open sores.
One common trigger for hives is extensive exertion. Athletes with hives can often exercise for an hour or more until the hives suddenly blossom around their chest, arms, neck, legs, and back. The rash can take a few minutes to appear and a few hours to fade away.
In diagnosing hives, internal medicine practitioners in San Diego can systematically rule out the variety of other conditions that result in a skin rash. Many allergies are site-specific, which means a specific environmental condition is causing the rash, including food allergies, airborne chemicals (including domestic or industrial chemicals).
The cause behind an athlete coming down with hives is body heat. As the body temperature rises, the hives begin. There are many cases with mild and even insignificant discomfort, but a more critical rash causes itching and can lead to difficulty breathing.
Hives are also known as urticaria. Hives can also be accompanied by angioedema, which is a swelling of the face, tongue, abdomen, and other regions. This includes the larynx, which is where the condition becomes dangerous if the swelling begins to block off air passages.
It is difficult for many to give up an active lifestyle for something such as hives, which are common and most often insignificant – so your arms and legs break out in a rash after heavy exercise. That isn’t much of a problem. However, if the rash covers your chest, back, neck, and arms, you should discuss the issue with your family doctor or a dermatologist. Besides the danger with angioedema, the hives are a common symptom of food allergies, in which case it would be recommended to discuss the hives with a physician.
Mild to Moderate Hives
If the hives are not severe, it is advised for patients to simply avoid the triggers, including not exercising in the hot sun. It is also recommended that you shower or bathe and change into clean clothes wherever hives appear.
However, if the hives interfere with your lifestyle, see a doctor as soon as possible for a more systematic response that would rule out other causes. Why give up a healthy lifestyle if the hives were actually an allergic reaction to something, including the fabric of your clothes or something you ate.
In mild cases, hives are often treated with anti-itch drugs or lotions. Antihistamines that do not include drowsy reactions are also used.
For more moderate cases of hives, anti-inflammatory drugs are also used.
Your doctor may also prescribe drugs that suppress your immune system. Categorically, hives are an immune system response, as such it is helpful to calm your immune system down.
Hives can also require immediate medical attention when it involves overheating, which can lead to heatstroke. Your doctor may recommend a shot of epinephrine, which is delivered by use of a self-injection “pen.”
The San Diego internal medicine doctors focus on a whole-person approach to patient needs, including looks at lifestyles that may result in discomfort.