One of the most common skin conditions is urticaria or hives. Hives occur as your body reacts to a substance or the environment (excessive heat or cold) causing the release of high levels of histamines.
Blood veins in the affected area dilate (widen) causing a raised rash. Often fluid builds up in the tissues resulting in swelling and itching. In about 50% of hives cases the cause is unknown.
- Hives can occur on any part of your body
- In most cases symptoms disappear within 24-48 hours
- You should seek medical treatment if symptoms persist after 48 hours
- Treatment can include the use of over the counter anti-histamines to reduce the rash and ease any itching
- Longer term urticaria may be treated with corticosteroid tablets however steroids are usually only prescribed for a short period of time.
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