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About hives and common symptoms.
Hives, also known as urticaria, are an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps on skin that appear suddenly. Hives usually occur because of your body’s reaction to certain allergens, or for unknown reasons. They are most commonly caused by foods, medications, or infections, or insect bites.
Fresh foods cause hives more often than cooked foods. The most common foods that cause hives are:
- Eggs and milk
- Nuts and chocolate
- Tomatoes and fresh berries
Drugs can also cause hives, such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, high blood pressure medications, or painkillers.
Hives are usually itchy, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhere on the body, and can vary significantly in size – from several millimeters to the size of a dinner plate. They usually last up to a day before fading.
- Dr. Brett Belchetz, ER Physician, Toronto
When to see a doctor for your hives.
You should seek immediate emergency care if you experience any of the following with your hives:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, or face
If you have none of the above, some steps you can take to ease your symptoms are:
- Apply cool compresses or wet cloths to affected areas
- Keep the air temperature cool at home and work
- Wear loose-fitting lightweight clothes
For hives that do not disappear quickly on their own, you can safely and effectively be treated online. Your Maple doctor may recommend medications such as antihistamines (Benadryl, Claritin, or Reactine), or steroids (Prednisone), depending on your specific history.
- Dr. Peter Iracleous, ER Physician, Toronto