What are hives?

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a sudden outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps, patches, or welts on the skin that appear due to the body’s reaction to certain allergens, appearing for unknown reasons. These can occur anywhere on the body and usually flare up suddenly. When the body encounters an allergic trigger, it releases histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. This release causes itching, swelling, and other symptoms associated with hives. These can range from a few millimeters to several inches in diameter, and they may join to form larger areas known as plaques.

What causes hives?

Hives can be triggered by:

  • Allergic reactions to food or medication
  • Infections, including common colds and other viruses
  • Stress
  • Extreme temperatures or changes in temperature
  • Pressure on the skin, as from a tight waistband
  • Exercise
  • Excessive sun exposure

While hives can be uncomfortable and look alarming, they are typically transient and may resolve on their own within a few hours or days. Chronic hives, however, can persist for months or even years and often require medical intervention.

What are the symptoms of hives?

Hives appear as raised, often itchy, red, or skin-colored welts on the skin’s surface. These welts can vary in size and may join to form larger areas called plaques. They can appear on any part of the body and are typically accompanied by:

  • Intense itching or a burning sensation
  • Swelling of the surrounding skin
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Fluctuation in size and shape over hours or days

The symptoms of hives can be acute, lasting less than six weeks, or chronic, persisting for months or even years. In some cases, angioedema, a deeper form of swelling, can accompany hives, affecting the eyes, lips, and extremities. It’s important to note that while hives can be uncomfortable, they are often manageable with the right treatment.

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What is eczema?

Eczema, or “atopic dermatitis,” is a chronic condition that causes the skin to be itchy, red, and inflamed. It is a common ailment that often appears in the early childhood years and can continue into adulthood or, less commonly, may appear for the first time in adulthood.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with eczema often have an overactive immune system and a compromised skin barrier, which makes their skin more susceptible to irritants and allergens.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

Eczema symptoms can vary widely from person to person and may include:

  • Itching, which can be severe, especially at night
  • Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, elbows, and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, dry, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching

Eczema is often more than just a skin condition; it can be a sign of the body’s hypersensitivity, linking it to allergies and asthma. Management of eczema typically involves moisturizing lotions or creams to maintain skin hydration, corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation, medications, and avoiding triggers that can cause flare-ups.

Treatments for hives and eczema at Louisiana ENT Specialists

Treatments for hives

The approach to treating hives focuses primarily on relieving the symptoms and preventing recurrent outbreaks. For many individuals, over-the-counter antihistamines are effective at reducing itching and swelling. In more severe or chronic cases, doctors may prescribe stronger antihistamines, anti-inflammatory medications, or even corticosteroids to diminish the body’s allergic response.

For those with identifiable triggers, avoiding known allergens is the best preventative strategy. In rare cases where hives are persistent and resistant to standard treatments, a healthcare provider may explore other options, such as immune modulators or biologics. Additionally, cool compresses and baths with soothing agents like colloidal oatmeal may provide symptomatic relief.

Treatments for eczema

Eczema treatments are performed to treat the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms. Keeping the skin moist with lotions and creams is fundamental, as dry skin can exacerbate eczema. Topical corticosteroids are often prescribed to reduce skin inflammation during flare-ups. If infections occur due to broken skin, antibiotics might be necessary.

For more severe eczema, therapies such as phototherapy or systemic medications can be used to control the condition. Identifying and avoiding personal eczema triggers is also critical, whether they be irritants, allergens, or stressors. Eczema management may include lifestyle changes like stress reduction techniques and modifications in diet, fabric choices, and skincare routines to minimize irritation and support the skin’s barrier function.

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Why choose Louisiana ENT to treat hives or eczema?

At our clinic, we understand that dealing with hives and eczema can be more than a mere inconvenience—it can significantly impact your quality of life. Our specialists are committed to helping patients achieve long-term relief from these conditions.

  • Expertise and experience: Our team comprises highly trained and compassionate healthcare professionals who specialize in dermatology. With years of experience in diagnosing and treating skin conditions like hives and eczema, we bring a depth of knowledge and a proven track record of success.
  • Personalized care: We believe that effective treatment starts with a customized approach. Every patient’s skin is unique, as are the circumstances leading to their condition. We take the time to understand your case and tailor a treatment plan that addresses your needs and lifestyle.
  • Advanced treatments: We stay at the forefront of dermatological advances, offering the latest treatment options. From the newest topical medications to cutting-edge light therapy, we have the tools to relieve and manage your condition effectively.
  • Integrated approach: Recognizing that skin health is deeply connected to overall wellness, we take a holistic view of your health. Our care extends beyond the prescription pad, incorporating advice on nutrition, stress management, and other lifestyle factors that can influence your condition.
  • Comfortable and supportive environment: We strive to make every visit to our clinic a positive experience. Our friendly staff, welcoming offices, and supportive atmosphere ensure you or your child feel comfortable and supported.
  • Accessible care: Understanding that access to care is crucial, we offer flexible scheduling and multiple locations to make your visits convenient. Additionally, our team works to ensure that the coordination of insurance and billing is as smooth as possible.

At Louisiana ENT, you can experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are in capable and caring hands. At our clinic, we don’t just treat symptoms; we offer a path to improved skin health and an enhanced quality of life. Whether hives or eczema, we provide patient-centered care that addresses the physical and emotional aspects of skin conditions. We are here to support you through each step of your journey to better skin health, offering convenience, expertise, and a compassionate touch across our network of locations.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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