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HivesWhat are hives?
Hives are red patches or bumps that suddenly manifest on the skin. The red spots are often swollen, and they may itch, burn, or sting. These blotches can appear anywhere on the skin, including the torso, arms, legs, hands, feet, and head, and they can also occur in the mouth and throat.

What causes hives?
Most cases of hives are due to an allergic reaction. Almost any allergen can cause hives in certain people, but some of the most common culprits include foods, medicines, latex, and bug bites. In addition to allergies, hives can be caused by immunodeficiencies, infections, stress, and even too much sunlight - though these cases are less common.

When hives set on suddenly, it’s often fairly easy to identify the likely cause. When they last for an extended time, figuring out the exact cause is often more challenging.

What treatments are available for hives?
Recurring or chronic hives can often be treated with antihistamines. An allergist is able to determine whether antihistamines will help relieve a patient’s hives. If antihistamines will help, the allergist might prescribe some or recommend an over-the-counter medication.

How long does an appointment for hives take?
Visiting an allergist to treat hives takes about as long as a typical doctor’s appointment. Like all doctor appointments, an allergist visit begins with a conversation between the allergist and patient. If needed, an allergist may order allergy testing after this conversation, but testing doesn’t take long and is usually completed in the office with fairly immediate results. Once the test results are known, the allergist will be able to recommend a course of treatment.

What should patients with hives look for in a doctor?
In addition to looking for a board-certified and licensed doctor, patients suffering from hives should also seek out someone close to where they live or work. If allergy shots are prescribed, patients often need to go to the doctor's office regularly. Seeing a doctor who has a conveniently located practice makes getting to and from these appointments easy.


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