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SYMPTOM
SPOTLIGHT:
SKIN ALLERGIES

ALLERGIC SKIN REACTIONS CAN BE MORE THAN SKIN-DEEP.

When it comes to allergies, the skin doesn’t have the best of luck. Skin is very commonly affected by allergies, and allergic skin reactions can be triggered by many different allergens. Depending on the allergen, skin reactions can be limited to the surface of the skin (e.g., rash, itching), or develop in the deeper layers of the skin. What’s more, the skin can react due to something it’s touched directly (i.e., contact dermatitis), or as part of a larger, whole-body reaction (e.g., hives).

Read on to learn more about different types of allergic skin reactions.

WHAT ARE HIVES?

Hives, also known as urticaria [ur-tuh-CARE-ee-uh], are a red, raised, itchy skin rash appearing on the skin that may be triggered by exposure to an allergen. When an allergic skin reaction occurs, the body releases histamine, causing small blood vessels in the skin to leak, leading to swelling and causing a rash.

WHAT DO HIVES LOOK LIKE?

Hives appear as itchy, raised, red and white bumps or welts and can vary in size and develop anywhere on the body.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HIVES? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR HIVES TO GO AWAY?

There are two types of hives: acute (short-term—lasting less than six weeks) and chronic (long-term—lasting more than six weeks). Allergic reactions causing hives usually result in short-term type of hives.

HIVES TREATMENT

If you have hives, it is simply a matter of avoiding what triggered it (if the trigger can be identified). Allergy medications called “antihistamines” [ann-tee-HISS-tuh-meens] can also help control itch as a result of hives.

DON’T SCRATCH THAT ITCH!

This is easier said than done when you have an itchy rash but try to avoid or minimize
scratching. This can actually make the skin more irritated and may lead to infection.