A dermatologist can often diagnose hives by looking at the skin. However, it can be challenging to determine the cause of hives.
This is particularly true for hives that have been around for over six weeks. To determine the cause of the hives, a dermatologist will examine the patient’s medical history, ask questions, and conduct a physical exam.
Texas Surgical Dermatology, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen, provides safe and proven skin care treatments to patients in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding communities.
How do dermatologists treat hives?
The most common treatment for a mild or moderate case of hives is a non-sedating (does not lead to drowsiness) antihistamine. Antihistamines treat symptoms such as itching.
In addition, antihistamines are prescribed to treat chronic (that last longer than six weeks) hives. The patient will need to take this medicine daily to prevent hives from developing. There are multiple antihistamines available on the market. Some cause drowsiness, while others do not.
Drugs that dermatologists prescribe for the treatment of hives include:
- Corticosteroids such as prednisone: these are prescribed for short-term use as they have side-effects associated with long-term use.
- Dapsone: This is an antibiotic that can offer relief from inflammation and redness.
- Omalizumab: This injectable drug can help patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), a form of hives can last for months, and in some cases, even years.
- Other medicines that treat redness and swelling
Patients should ask their dermatologist about potential side effects (medical problems that can occur due to the medicines).
An injection of epinephrine (shot of adrenaline) may be necessary for some cases hives or angioedema (a condition that is similar to hives, but the inflammation develops deeper in the skin).
All drugs have potential side effects. The patient should definitely ask the dermatologist about possible side effects.
Treatment for chronic hives
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs – antihistamines and omalizumab-for the treatment of a type of chronic hives known as CIU, which can last for six weeks or longer and at times, years.
Research indicates that up to 50 percent of individuals with CIU continue to have hives after antihistamine treatment. In some people with CIU, Omalizumab, which is delivered under the skin, has been shown to clear hives and relieve the itch. According to a research study, 36 percent of patients treated with omalizumab reported no hives and no itch following treatment.
Hives are not serious for most people. Children may outgrow the allergies that lead to the development of hives.
Certain people with chronic (lasting over six weeks) hives, experience the hives go away on their own, usually within a year. However, many people with chronic hives experience that the hives come and go for months or years.
In case the hives remain or become severe, it is vital to seek medical help. Hives can be an indication of internal disease. Some individuals develop severe inflammation. If a person has hives and problems in breathing or swallowing, they should seek immediate medical care.
Hives: Suggestions for Managing
The patient may not need treatment when the hives are mild. They can usually relieve the itching by placing cool cloths on the hives, or by taking cool showers.
In case the patient has a bad allergic response, including shortness of breath, they should speak to their doctor about a prescription med known as an “auto-injector.” This drug stops the allergic response when injected into the thigh. The patient should follow the doctor’s advice on how to use this medication.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen at Texas Surgical Dermatology receives patients from Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and nearby areas for advanced skin care procedures.
For more information on procedures and treatments offered at Texas Surgical Dermatology PA please call 832.663.6566 or click here to contact our dermatologists. Helping patients in Houston, The Woodlands, Springs, Katy and other surrounding areas of Texas.