The American Academy of Dermatology indicates that hives are a frequently occurring dermatological issue characterized by itchy bumps or raised, swollen-looking patches. Individuals with darker skin tones often have hives that appear as the same color of skin tone, while those individuals with lighter skin tone may experience bumps or patches that are pink or red in appearance.

In a recent press release, board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Danilo Del Campo, MD, FAAD, stated, "Multiple factors—including sunlight, stress, and an allergic reaction to food and medicine—can cause hives. Hives are usually harmless and temporary. A single hive tends to last for a few minutes to a few hours. Most hives clear within 24 hours."

Moreover, Dr. Del Campo indicated that while anyone can get hives, women of African American heritage, those who have eczema, and individuals who smoke cigarettes are at a greater risk of developing hives.

Dr. Del Campo provided the following suggestions for self-treatment of hives, including:

• Soothe the itch with a cool, damp washcloth; anti-itch cream or lotion; or colloidal oatmeal baths.
• Try not to scratch, and while this can be challenging since hives are extremely itchy, scratching irritates the skin more. Keeping fingernails trimmed and short can reduce scratching.
• Gently bathe the skin using warm water and avoid rubbing the itchy skin with a washcloth, loofah, or mesh sponge. Also, it is best to apply soap or cleanser by gently putting it on the skin with the hands.
• Use a fragrance-free cleanser. Ensure that it is a fragrance-free product rather than an unscented product. An unscented product contains fragrance that has been covered up so that one cannot smell it, but the product can still contain ingredients that may irritate the skin.
• Wear loose-fitting, 100% cotton clothing, which can decrease skin irritation.
• Keep a journal of the number of times hives occur and if they occur frequently or last for a long duration. This may help identify possible triggers.

Dr. Del Campo stated, "If your hives don't clear after following these tips, talk to a board-certified dermatologist. Get immediate medical care or go to the nearest emergency room if you have hives, along with any of the following: problems swallowing, feel light-headed or faint, have swelling in your mouth or throat or a racing heart or shortness of breath or trouble breathing."

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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