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Hives: An Itchy Mystery

 Hives:  An Itchy Mystery

Allergies can cause hives, itchy red splotches on your skin that come and go, but being evaluated for allergies as a cause of chronic hives (urticaria) is almost always a waste of time and money.

We know that allergies to foods and drugs can cause hives, but almost always hives caused by foods or drugs stop by themselves within a few days or weeks. Chronic hives continue to break out for more than a couple of weeks and are evaluated with blood tests, X rays and MRIs. usually doctors can’t find a cause, but when they do, they find a hidden infection, tumor or an autoimmune disease.

When hives are caused by helicobacter, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, they can be cured by taking antibiotics. Infectious mononucleosis can start as hives that last for several weeks before the actual symptoms of disease start. Exciting new research shows that most people with chronic hives have antibodies against their own white blood cells which can be diagnosed when they have huge red swelling at the site where their blood is injected into their skin and they can be successfully treated with immune suppressants such as cyclosporin and intravenous gamma globulin. Hives caused by touching cold objects are often caused by infection and often stop after a person takes antibiotics.

Doctors usually recommend avoiding aspirin, the most common drug cause of hives. they prescribe antihistamines first. however, sometimes, antihistamines do not control itching and your doctor may have to prescribe cortisone-type medications such as prednisone. Sometimes chronic hives are the first sign of a tumor that may not show up for many years.

Hives: An Itchy Mystery

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