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Hives Specialist

Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates

Cathy Green, MD

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialist located in Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA

Hives are a common and very itchy problem that affects 20% of Americans at least once in their lifetime. At Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, Cathy Green, MD, helps you get relief from the severe itching with customized treatments that target your symptoms while dealing with the underlying cause. To schedule an appointment for comprehensive treatment of hives, call the office or use the online booking system.

Hives Q & A

What are hives?

Hives, also called urticaria, are raised, itchy patches that suddenly appear on your skin. Individual hives may merge together to form one large red area.

Though any individual hive may disappear within 24 hours, new hives can keep developing. As a result, your reaction lasts several days. If your hives last longer than six weeks, you have a case of chronic hives.

You can distinguish hives from other skin rashes because hives have qualities such as:

  • Hives, sometimes called wheals, appear and disappear suddenly
  • Red hives turn white if you press on the hive
  • Hives can change shapes

Many patients develop angioedema along with their hives. Angioedema occurs when fluids build up in the tissues below the hives, making the area swollen, red, and painful.

Hives alone aren’t dangerous, but if they appear with other symptoms, such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, or stomach cramps, they could signal a serious allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

What causes hives?

Hives often appear during an allergic reaction. Many allergens can lead to hives, including:

  • Foods
  • Pollen
  • Poison ivy
  • Animal dander
  • Insect stings
  • Medications
  • Latex

Many other triggers that aren’t associated with allergies can cause hives, such as:

  • Viral infections
  • Thyroid disease
  • Scratching your skin
  • Contact with chemicals
  • Chronic stress

Changes in temperature and exposure to sunlight may also cause hives.

How do you treat hives?

Before Dr. Green can treat hives, she must first determine what caused the reaction, using bloodwork and a skin test for allergies. After identifying the underlying cause, Dr. Green helps you develop a plan to avoid the triggers.

If allergens are responsible for your hives, Dr. Green may recommend allergy shots. She also treats hives with prescription medications such as anti-inflammatory agents and antihistamines to relieve itching.

Chronic hives may continually appear and disappear for months or years. In about 80-90% of patients with chronic hives, the underlying cause can’t be determined. When chronic hives don’t respond to antihistamines, Dr. Green may prescribe advanced biologics to control your symptoms and prevent the problem from getting worse.

If you have recurring or chronic hives, call Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates or schedule an appointment online.