Consultants in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology

Allergists & Immunologists located in Clark, NJ, Clifton, NJ & Garfield, NJ

About 20% of people get hives at some point in their lives. Expert allergy and immunology specialists Peter Benincasa, MD, and Richard E. Luka, MD, treat children and adults with hives at Consultants in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology at their convenient locations in Clark, Clifton, and Garfield, New Jersey. If you or a loved one has hives, call or go online to book an appointment today.

Hives Q & A

What are hives?

Hives, or urticaria, are red, typically itchy welts that appear on your skin. Itching may be mild or severe, and scratching will usually make the itching worse.

Hives can be localized and fleeting or widespread and persistent, and appear due to allergic and non-allergic triggers. A bout of hives may last hours, or hives may continue to come and go for days or weeks.  A bout of hives that lasts less than six weeks is considered acute, while hives that persist more than six weeks are considered chronic.

What do hives look like?

Hives usually appear as slightly raised pink or red welts on your skin. They may blanch or turn white when you press the center of the hive.

Hives can show up on any part of your skin and range in size from a tiny dot to a welt the size of a dinner plate. Sometimes, welts that develop close together can connect to form a more massive welt or blotchy rash.

What causes hives?

Hives can affect anyone, but they occur more commonly among people with allergies. You may be more susceptible to acute hives if you suffer from one or more of the following:

  • Food allergies
  • Insect bite allergies
  • Medication allergies
  • Latex allergies

Other causes of hives may include stress, exercise, or exposure to sun, heat, or cold. Most people with chronic hives don’t have a specific allergic trigger for their hives. An outbreak of hives can happen within minutes after being exposed to the trigger, or it can take a few hours.

How do you diagnose and treat hives?

Drs. Benincasa and Luka can diagnose hives and help determine if there is an allergic or other underlying cause by taking a thorough history and conducting a physical examination.   While acute, isolated bouts of hives may have an allergic trigger, most case of chronic hives are intrinsic, or idiopathic. Chronic hives may be triggered by other underlying medical conditions and lab work may help exclude these causes.

In some cases, the trigger of an outbreak might be apparent. It’s helpful if you’re able to note any conditions preceding an outbreak such as foods you may have eaten or medications you may have taken. This note-taking will help Drs. Benincasa and Luka narrow down your potential triggers.

Once you know what causes your hives, your doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan to manage the symptoms. This treatment may include:

  • Avoiding exposures that may trigger or aggravate  hives
  • Oral medications to relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation
  • Xolair, a once monthly injectable medication for difficult to treat chronic hives

If you suffer from chronic or recurring hives, call or go online to book an appointment with Consultants in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.