Hives, medically known as urticaria, often appear as red, inflamed, raised areas on the skin. Hives sometimes appear as large welts that can meld together, forming scaly, itchy areas known as “plaques”. Though hives can burn and sting, they typically cause itching. They may appear on any part of the body including eyes, tongue, or ears.

Similar to hives, angioedema is a condition that affects deeper layers of the skin, and often occurs in conjunction with hives. Angioedema tends to affect the eyelids, lips, tongue, hands, and feet, and does always display itchiness or redness.

The board-certified Atlanta allergists at the Center for Allergy & Asthma of Georgia can quickly identity urticaria and angioedema to provide the answers patients need. All offices have a no wait policy to ensure you receive care as soon as possible.

Causes of Hives and Angioedema

While causes for urticaria and angioedema are varied, many cases are typically caused by an allergic reaction. Hives and swelling lasting less than six weeks, known as acute urticaria, is most commonly caused by foods, medications, latex, or infections. Angioedema caused by these acute allergens can, in extreme cases, cause the tongue to swell up and difficulty breathing.

Chronic breakouts cause irritation for more than six weeks, and diagnosis is much more difficult. While acute symptoms may occur, chronic urticaria or angioedema can also be caused by chronic infections, hormonal disorders or autoimmunity.

Hives occurring due to heat, sun exposure, sweating, pressure or other various physical stimulants are known as physical urticaria. In these cases symptoms present themselves where the skin was stimulated and rarely anywhere else. Additional types of hives and angioedema include dermatographism, which occurs after intense scratching or rubbing the skin, and hereditary angioedema.

Treatment Options for Hives and Angioedema

While symptoms may subside on their own, it is best to speak with a board-certified Atlanta allergist at the Center for Allergy & Asthma of Georgia to determine overlying causes and treatment for hives and angioedema. Acute cases of hives and angioedema may be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines, but severe cases often require medical attention and can be life-threatening.

The board-certified allergists at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia will determine which type of urticaria or angioedema the patient experiences, and will work with the patient to develop an individualized care plan.

Visit a Board-Certified Allergist About Your Hives

Learning to recognize causes and symptoms of hives could save your life, so don’t wait to speak to a board-certified allergist at the Center for Allergy & Asthma of Georgia. We have offices conveniently across the metro Atlanta area including Carrollton, Villa Rica, Newnan, Smyrna/Vinings, Peachtree City/Fayetteville, Acworth/Kennesaw, and Douglasville. Call (770) 459-0620 to schedule your appointment for hives treatment.

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