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Hives Specialist

Vasif C Kalfa, MD -  - Allergist

Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland

Vasif C Kalfa, MD

Allergist & Immunologist located in Silver Spring, MD

Itchy welts called hives can appear suddenly when you have allergies. At Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland in Silver Spring, Maryland, board-certified allergist Vasif Kalfa, MD, offers diagnosis and treatment for allergy symptoms of all types, including expert management and prevention of uncomfortable hives. Call the office or schedule your appointment online today.

Hives Q & A

What are hives?

Hives are itchy skin welts or bumps. They're either red or skin-toned, and they range in diameter from the size of a quarter to several inches across. Skin swelling (angioedema) is common alongside hives. 

Hives are either short-term or chronic. Short-term hives present suddenly and then fade away within a short period of time. Chronic hives happen daily, or almost daily, for longer than six weeks. With chronic hives, the hives appear, fade within 24 hours, then return the next day.

Both short-term and chronic hives can be irritating and disruptive, and both types require diagnosis and treatment.

What causes hives?

There are a number of common hive triggers, including:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Foods, particularly peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and shellfish
  • Certain medications, including antibiotics, ibuprofen, hypertension drugs, and aspirin
  • Insect stings and bites
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen and other airborne allergens
  • Certain plants
  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Sun exposure
  • Latex exposure

Most of these reactions occur because of allergic reactions, including skin allergies and food allergies. Hives can have some of the same triggers as asthma, including hot and cold sensitivities and strenuous exercise.

An autoimmune condition may be the underlying cause of chronic hives. 

Other factors can contribute to hives, like hormone fluctuations due to pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disorders.

How are hives diagnosed?

At Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland, Dr. Kalfa examines your skin and discusses your symptoms with you. He may perform allergy tests, such as skin, intradermal, or blood tests, to determine whether you have an allergy. 

If Dr. Kalfa suspects a food allergy, he might recommend an oral food challenge in the office to safely determine the cause of your hives or other allergy symptoms.

How are hives treated?

After Dr. Kalfa determines the root cause of your hives, he prescribes a treatment plan to decrease your flare-ups. 

You may need oral immunotherapy, allergy shots, oral medication, inhaled asthma medicine, topical medicine, or other treatments to correct the underlying issue and reduce or stop your hives outbreaks. 

For help with itchy hives, call Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland or click on the online scheduling link.