Hives Are Hives Contagious-A General Study

Are Hives Contagious-A General Study

Are Hives Contagious

Hives are itchy, bumpy. whitish or pinkish splotches on the skin which are caused by itchy rashes. They are mostly triggered by an allergic infection and can appear on any part of the body. So, are hives contagious? The answer is no, but it can spread from the trigger that caused this skin reaction.

Infections such as bacteria, viruses, the common cold and strep throat might spread hives. They commonly occur either on one part of the body or all over.

Are Hives Contagious

Hives or urticaria as it is known medically is a type of rash that results in red, blotchy, itchy, and raised welts on the skin in response to an allergic reaction.

How are Hives caused?

Hives or urticaria are usually triggered by an allergic response resulting in the release of histamine in the skin.

These triggers can be foods, medicines, chemicals, or even certain medical conditions and can result in the development of hives over the entire body or a part of it such as the arms, legs, or stomach.

Hives may develop within a few minutes of contact with the triggering agent or it may take hours after exposure with the triggering agent for the hives to develop and they usually disappear within 24-48 hours after the exposure ends. In a few rare cases, hives may persist for days or weeks in which case it is termed as chronic urticaria.

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What are the common triggers?

are hives contagious

Triggers are difficult to identify as even overexposure to heat or cold can result in hives but common triggers are usually:

  • Foods such as certain fruits like strawberries and kiwis or seafood such as shrimp and oysters.
  • Drugs such as penicillin and sulfa.
  • Infections are caused by bacterias, viruses, or even parasites.
  • Certain Insect bites
  • Exposure to Pollen 

So, are hives contagious?

Hives are caused due to the exposure to an agent that triggers an allergic response and may be localized to a particular area such as the back or arm and legs or it may be widespread even covering the whole body at times.

So, in a true sense hives are not contagious as they cannot spread just by touching somebody that has hives but keep in mind that if an individual has developed hives due to an infection such as a common cold or strep throat, then that causative agent is contagious and you too may develop hives by coming in contact with them.

But the good news is that most hives are not contagious, yet they have a predilection for young children or old folks due to their suppressed immune system. They are also more commonly seen in females than in males and those with medical conditions that weaken the immune system.

How to prevent hives?

are hives contagious

It’s almost impossible to prevent hives as in most cases the triggering agent is not known.

Of course, in cases where the triggering agent is known such as in the case of foods and medicines, you can prevent hives by avoiding exposure to the triggering agent.

however as the individual gets desensitized to the triggering agent, the frequency and intensity of the hives will reduce or you could also use antihistamines.

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When to consult a doctor?

In most cases, hives settle down about 24-48 hours after the exposure to the causative agent has ended and does not really need medical attention. In rare cases, hives may persist for days or weeks and may require an evaluation by specialists such as dermatologists and allergy and immunology specialists.

Seek immediate medical care if the individual develops respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, throat tightening, or difficulty in swallowing as such individuals may require injected epinephrine to prevent airway closure.

Home remedies for hives

As most cases of hives do not require medical care, you can ease the symptoms of itchiness warmth, and redness by the use of common home remedies such as :

Stay cool: Keep the affected area cool by the use of a cool towel over the hives or even by just taking a cool shower. you can even just sit under the fan so that you do not sweat.

Wear comfortable clothing: Wearing tight clothing will only irritate the skin more and worsen the symptoms so wear loose clothing that allows the skin to breathe.

Do not scratch: Not scratching an area that itches may be easier said than done but try and avoid touching the itchy area as much as possible. You can even use a topical lotion to soothe the skin and prevent it from itching.

Avoid triggers: If you are one of the lucky ones that knows what the triggering factor is then please do avoid it.

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