What Causes Hives?

What Causes Hives?

Hives are commonly known as itchy rashes appearing in clusters. They are a type of skin allergies which look like a group of mosquito bites. They are common allergic reactions which occur anywhere in the body ranging from nickel to quarter sized lesions. Hives could be treated. However to give appropriate treatment, it is proper to know the cause so you won’t keep coming back to suffering the same dilemma over time.

Hives or welts are medically termed as urticaria derived from the Latin word for “nettle”. Hives are defined as red, itchy, swollen, raised skin rash which can look like a group of mosquito bites. They are accompanied by stinging or burning sensation. They are a common allergic reaction which can occur anywhere on the body in as small as a pencil eraser or as large as a dinner plate. They can also join to form extremely large areas that are called plaques. Often, they appear in clusters with new clusters appearing as other areas clear.  These bumps range from nickel to quarter sized lesions.

Answers to what causes hives

So, what causes hives? Frequently, hives are caused by immune reactions. There are four types of immune related reactions and two of them can manifest with hives as part of the clinical picture. The most common allergic reaction is caused by the interaction of histamine from mast cells and a class of immune globulins called IgE.

IgE stands for immunoglobulin E, and is one of five types of immunoglobulins involved in immune sensitivity and response in humans. However, IgE is found exclusively in mammals. Immunoglobulins, more commonly known as antibodies, also belong to a family of proteins referred to as gamma globulins. They are produced by specific white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. Collectively, IgEs, which reside in the blood, are important weapons used by the immune system to detect and respond to the invasion of foreign substances, namely bacteria and viruses.

As might be expected, IgE is also involved in allergy hypersensitivity and allergic reactions. In fact, IgE is the primary mediator that stimulates the release of inflammatory agents in mast cells, such as histamine and leukotrienes. In addition, it is responsible for triggering the most severe allergic reactions, even though it is usually the immunoglobin found least in circulation in the blood. In addition, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that IgE is involved in immune responses to parasitic invasions and the increased white blood cell count associated with the onset of cancer.

Aside from the histamine causing destabilization in the blood vessels, there are also provoking factors to arising hives. They are the areas to be explored:
• General health – with special reference to co-existing chronic systemic disease, especially  thyroid/autoimmune, reticuloses or carcinoma and hepatitis status.
• Occupational history.
• Drug history – all regular/intermittent medication including all over-the-counter drugs, particularly aspirin.
• Family history of atopy/angioedema.
• Hobbies/pets.
• Any recent acute illness, especially infection/infestation.
• Any consistent provoking factors, particularly physical/acute food/contact reactions or cyclical (menstrual) pattern.
• Areas of the body most frequently affected.

The above-mentioned are the most common answers to what causes hives.