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Hives or urticaria are among the most common allergic reactions, but sometimes, they can indicate a serious underlying immune disorder. Dr. Johnson is skilled in diagnosing the causes of hives so patients in Downtown, Los Angeles, CA, can get the best treatment for optimal results.



What is urticaria?

Urticaria is another word for hives, raised reddish bumps that appear on the surface of the skin in response to an allergy. Hives often itch or sting, and they can occur anywhere on your skin or in your throat or mouth, making swallowing and even breathing difficult. Individual hives are small – often the size of a pencil eraser or smaller – but usually occur in patches called plaques that can cover large surfaces. Some hives disappear within a few hours while others may take a day or more to resolve.

What causes hives to form?

Hives occur as part of an allergic reaction when the immune system sends out cells and chemicals to battle what it perceives as a foreign invader. Many hives are caused by foods, skin products, detergents, pet dander, medications, certain plants and other external triggers, while others can be caused by metabolic diseases and even extreme stress. The best way to determine what's causing your hives is to see Dr. Johnson for an evaluation and to prevent future outbreaks.

What treatments are available for hives?

Hives that occur in the mouth or throat and which have the potential to restrict breathing or swallowing require emergency treatment. Other hives usually can be managed with antihistamines that help relieve itching and bring the immune system under control. Applying a cool compress to hives can also be effective in relieving itching. When antihistamines don't prove effective, steroids may also be prescribed and occasionally injections of biologic medications.  In very severe cases, epinephrine may be used to quickly relieve serious symptoms. When hives occur as a result of an immune system disease or disorder, Dr. Johnson will discuss the treatment options to address those underlying issues.

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