Our Washington, DC allergy specialists have an expertise in diagnosing and treating hives in both adult and pediatric patients. Hives (also known as urticaria) manifest themselves as itchy bumps (welts) on the skin surrounded by an area of redness. They can occur anywhere on the skin and can even occur internally causing such symptoms as tightness of the throat, abdominal cramping, etc. They are often associated with episodes of swelling of the body (also known as angioedema) and commonly cause swelling of the lips, face, eyes, hands, and/or feet. This swelling is essentially a hive in a deeper layer of the skin causing that area to swell rather than appear as just a hive. Hives can be one of the most annoying conditions that individuals experience. In the Washington, DC area, as with other areas of the country, hives can be acute or chronic. If they occur less than 6 weeks in duration, they are classified as acute urticaria. If an individual has hives that last greater than 6 weeks, it is referred to as chronic urticaria. Regardless of how long one has had hives, it is important to the patient to get relief as soon as possible. In the Washington, DC area, the board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy strive to eliminate this malady.
What Causes Hives?
The allergy doctors at our Washington, DC office, as well as our offices in McLean, VA (Tyson’s Corner, VA) and Manassas, VA are well trained and have had decades of experience in the diagnosis and management of hives. A thorough history from the patient along with a detailed physical examination often gives important clues as to the cause of an individual’s hives and/or swelling. Hives can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include allergic reactions to medications, foods, dyes and preservatives, blood transfusions, and insect stings to name a few. Others develop hives from underlying unrelated medical conditions. Some of these conditions may include autoimmune diseases (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, vasculitis), thyroid disease, hepatitis, complement disorders, certain malignancies, and various infections. Still others experience hives from physical exposures. Some of these may include exercise, scratching the surface of the skin (dermatographism), exposure to the cold, exposure to the heat, pressure and/or vibration of the skin, and even exposure to water (aquagenic urticaria). Comprehensive diagnostic testing may include allergy testing, blood work, urinalysis, and/or X-rays depending on the individual’s history of hives.
Despite all the possible causes of hives, surprisingly, 95% of the time a cause cannot be identified. It is however important to rule out an underlying condition, if one exists, so that treatment can be focused on that condition which should eradicate the hives. Millions of people visit their doctors every year to seek treatment for hives, and if you are located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, we would be happy to see you at any one of our 3 office locations.
Our allergy doctors in DC will prescribe various medications in order to try to eliminate your hives completely. In stubborn cases, it may be necessary to use Xolair injections, which reduce the IgE antibody, as an alternative way to treat recalcitrant chronic hives. All of our offices, including the Washington, DC location, are state of the art facilities with knowledgeable staff ready to help you rid yourself of your itchy annoying hives. We are at the forefront of treating hives and other allergic conditions and as a result you will be the first to know when new medications and remedies become available for treating hives. If you are experiencing hives, please do not hesitate to contact our Washington, DC office for a consultation. Our board certified allergists are eager to help you treat your hives as well as other allergy problems you may have. Black & Kletz Allergy has on-site parking at each of its 3 office locations. Our Washington, DC and McLean, VA locations are also Metro accessible. Please call us to schedule an appointment or alternatively, you can Request an Appointment and we will reply within 24 hours on the next business day.