Hives or urticaria is described as red-colored, elevated, itchy welts that turn white in the center once they are pressed. This skin condition develops and disappears abruptly and can occur due to allergic reactions or among those who are susceptible to the cold, sun exposure or physical exertion. Some individuals have experienced an outbreak of hives at some point in their lifetime. Even though hives are not serious, they can occur with a serious reaction known as angioedema which involves deeper swelling of the tissues. The treatment of hives among adults depends on the cause and severity. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will learn how to handle this allergy symptom.
The body releases histamine as part of the immune reaction which triggers the itchiness and swelling of the skin among adults who have hives. Medications such as antihistamines can be given to reduce the histamine response, thus reducing the symptoms.
When antihistamines are used, always remember that it must be taken if more than a few hives develop, particular if the hives are starting to spread. One of the commonly used antihistamines is diphenhydramine which is considered as the most effective medication. Just remember that this drug can cause drowsiness, thus the individual should not drive. In some cases, doctors can try a combination of various antihistamines to treat the hives.
When it comes to severe cases of hives in adults, it can involve the swelling of the deeper tissues such as the throat which makes it difficult to breathe. In rare cases, it can lead to a life-threatening reaction such as anaphylaxis. Once anaphylaxis occurs, it involves the whole body that can even lead to death.
Once the hives that develop is severe or anaphylaxis occurs, it would require epinephrine which is injected in order to reduce the swelling. The commonly used injectable form of epinephrine is EpiPen that must be carried by the individual at all times. Once an EpiPen is used, the individual must be taken to the hospital for follow-up assessment and further medical care.
It is important to note that steroids work by reducing the immune response of the body to allergic elements that can trigger an outbreak of hives among adults. In most cases, a healthcare professional will recommend a short program of oral steroids together with other antihistamines to manage the condition.
Steroids are also given via injection during harsh cases of hives. The oral or injectable form of steroids is usually given at the quickest time possible to minimize the symptoms. Extended use of steroids can lead to a number of detrimental side effects in adults such as diabetes, loss of bone and increased vulnerability to infection. There are also steroid creams available over-the-counter that can help minimize the itchiness and discomfort caused by the development of hives.