Summer is here! Finally, you can enjoy long hours of sunlight, green grass, lush trees, swimming and BBQs. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to enjoy anything if you’re dealing with a pesky summer illness–like hives.
Hives are a common (and annoying) health condition that many of us find perplexing.
What are they? What causes them? Why do some people get them and others don’t?
Keep reading for some key information about hives (also known as urticaria).
What Are Hives?
Hives–or urticaria–is a skin reaction that results in raised, red welts or bumps. These welts can often be itchy and irritated. Sometimes, they burn or sting.
Urticaria can appear as a single welt or several welts in a patch, forming what is known as a plaque. These itchy welts can last anywhere from 6-12 hours, but they often disappear sooner.
Hives Are Common During The Summer
Believe it or not, there is a form of hives that occurs as a response to a body’s own sweat.
This condition, cholinergic urticaria, is sometimes known as heat bumps. Cholinergic urticaria occurs as a reaction to the immunoglobulin released in sweat during exercise or a raise in body temperature.
Because we spend more time outside in the heat during summer, cases of heat-related urticaria are more common during the summer months.
Urticaria can be caused by more than sweating, however.
Many people have allergies to shellfish, and break out in itchy, red welts if they consume shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster or scallops. Many of us consume more seafood during the summer, especially if we go on vacation to tropical or beach locales.
It’s important to be aware of shellfish ingredients at any new restaurant, picnic or cookout, no matter the time of year.
Other causes of hives?
- Allergens (pollen, pet dander, latex)
- Tight clothing
- Underlying medical conditions
Talk to your doctor about underlying health conditions that may be causing your hive outbreak if you can’t figure out a culprit.
Hives Can Appear Anywhere On The Body
Many people think urticaria can only appear on the face, neck and chest.
In fact, it can appear anywhere on the body. Cases of urticaria have been reported on the feet, hands, legs and back. It’s important to be aware of your hives outbreak, even if the welts pop up on unusual parts of the body.
When Should You See A Doctor About Your Hives?
Urticaria generally subsides within a few hours and leave no skin abrasions or marks behind.
However, you should see a medical professional for urticaria that last more than a few days. Similarly, hives that appear as the result of an allergic reaction should be monitored closely. Visit your doctor immediately if you notice your breathing becomeing heavier or labored after a hives breakout.
Our four Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care locations are open seven days a week to care for you should you experience any summertime illness.
West Nashville – On Charlotte Pike, in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center
Brentwood – Off Old Hickory Blvd, near Firebirds and the Well Coffee Shop
Berry Farms – Located off the Goose Creek Bypass in the Berry Farms Town Center, just down from Publix.
Franklin – On the corner of Route 96 & Carothers Parkway in front of Williamson County Medical Center.