Sunday, August 21, 2011
Betty's daughter told her she had a rash because of NERVES, listen to your sister, I am older than your daughter and smarter. Your daughter will be smarter when she starts itching . which she probably will some day.
There are many causes of hives including foods, drugs, infections, and diseases. Oddly enough, even though there are many potential causes, in the majority of cases of hives, the cause is unknown. Hives causes can be broken down into 3 broad groups:
•Idiopathic: This means we don't know the cause; it just happens.
•Immunological: Some hives are caused by changes in the immune system. A typical scenario would be coming in contact with something that causes cells in the immune system to trigger the release of histamine from certain white blood cells called mast cells.
•Nonimmunological: Exposure to certain substances can cause the direct release of histamine from mast cells without the involvement of other parts of the immune system.
If you have hives, you want to know what causes them so you can eliminate that trigger and free yourself from the itching. The following lists are not exhaustive, but do give the main known hives causes. While most cases of hives are idiopathic, see if you can eliminate any obvious causes of your hives. Just remember that it's best to talk to your healthcare provide before eliminating all possible hive triggers. If you suspect medication is causing your hives, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
If the cause of a person’s hives can’t be determined, and therefore the trigger can’t be avoided, then treating the hives is the next step.
The treatment of choice for hives is antihistamines, especially with the newer, low-sedating forms. There are many choices, including prescription-only forms and over-the-counter types. The best antihistamine for hives, in my opinion, is Zyrtec (cetirizine). Cetirizine is now available in over-the-counter forms without a prescription, including in generic forms. Claritan, Alavert and generics of these drugs (loratadine) are reasonable antihistamines for the treatment of hives as well, although loratadine doesn’t work nearly as well as cetirizine, in my experience. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) works as well, although it needs to be taken multiple times a day, and causes significant sedation.
There are many prescription forms of antihistamines to treat hives as well. These include newer, less-sedating types such as Allegra and its generic forms (fexofenadine), Clarinex (desloradatine), and Xyzal (levocetirizine), which is very similar to Zyrtec. Commonly used older, sedating antihistamines used to treat hives include hydroxyzine and doxepin, which is an anti-depressant with strong antihistamine effects.
I find that I only need to use oral or injectable corticosteroids in a small percentage of people with hives. However, it is common for non-allergy specializing physicians to use these medications. Antihistamines usually do a good job of treating hives with fewer side effects than corticosteroids.