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Urticaria (Hives)

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Etiology

Hives are merely a symptom of some underlying disorder, mostly of an allergic variety. They usually appear suddenly and also go away quickly. Causes include bites, an inhaled allergen, a drug, or something which is eaten or comes in contact with the skin can cause the reaction. Hives are fairly harmless unless they represent an early stage of an anaphylactic reaction, which is, of course, life threatening. Excessive exercise, stress, heat, or sunlight frequently precede an episode of hives.
Symptoms
There will be multiple plaque-like eruptions. These will be flat-topped, but some may have slight depressions in the center. They usually appear on the back, flanks, legs, neck, or around the eye There may also be generalized symptoms such as fever, anorexia or dullness.
Treatment
Hives do not usually require any treatment. Cold packs or water, vinegar or alcohol can be applied. If any other symptoms of anaphylactic shock appear (difficult breathing, foaming from the mouth or nose, hair standing on end, prostration, sunken eyes, loss of consciousness, etc), epinephrine should be given SQ at the rate of 1 cc per 100 pounds of body weight.


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