Hives Treatment in Washington DC

Hives Treatment in Washington DCPeople are seeking hives treatment in Washington DC in increasing numbers. Hives are a common and frustrating problem that prompts individuals to search for hives treatment in Washington DC.

The scientific name for hives is “urticaria.”  It denotes frequent breakouts of itchy, red blotches and welts over the skin.  The hives can be either flush with the skin or slightly elevated over the surface of the skin.  The lesions vary widely in sizes and shapes and can involve any part of the body.  Hives may also erupt in multiple parts of the body at the same time in a single day.   Each lesion usually resolves within 24 hours, but may last longer.  It should be noted that hives may also occur internally such as in the gastrointestinal system where nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain may be the presenting symptom(s).

Patients are usually very desperate in looking for hives treatment in Washington DC as the lesions can be intensely itchy and/or cause a burning sensation.  The symptoms can be very severe and very bothersome to an individual.  They may interfere with day-to-day activities, affect school and work performance, and disrupt sleep at night.

In some instances, hives are associated with swelling of the soft tissues.  The most common places that this associated swelling occurs are usually of the eyelids, lips, tongue, and/or throat.  This swelling in the medical nomenclature is known as “angioedema.”  If the swelling involves the throat, it can lead to difficulty in swallowing and breathing, which may be life-threatening.

The severity of the lesions can also differ from patient to patient and also vary in an individual patient over time.  If the condition lasts less than 6 weeks in duration, it is termed “acute” urticaria.  If, however the hives last longer than 6 weeks, it is called “chronic” urticaria.  Patients generally need hives treatment in Washington DC when their hives are chronic or recurring and/or angioedema is present.  Patients also may desire hives treatment in Washington DC for moderate to severe acute urticaria.

Allergies to foods, medications, personal care products, and environmental agents are the usual cause of acute hives and swellings.  Viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections may also result in hives and swellings on certain occasions.  It should be noted that in the majority of cases of chronic urticaria and angioedema that the specific cause of the hives or swelling usually remains unidentifiable.  In fact, 95% of the time, no cause is found for cases of chronic urticaria.  When no identifiable cause is found, the condition is termed “idiopathic” chronic urticaria.  This is one of the most common reasons why patients seek hives treatment in Washington DC.

Histamine and related chemical substances are the triggers for hives.  These chemicals are responsible for the redness, swelling, itching and pain.  The chemicals are usually stored in a type of cell called “mast cells.”  When a susceptible person is exposed to allergens or irritants, specific proteins called antibodies cause a release of these chemicals from the mast cells into tissues.  Thus, this release of chemicals into the tissues causes the itching, redness, pain, and swelling associated with hives and/or angioedema.

When patients seek hives treatment in Washington DC, the specialty trained allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy approach the problem in a systematic way.  The first step is obtaining a comprehensive history of the onset, duration, and severity of the condition with a special focus on the possible exposures to known causes of hives and swellings.  The next step is a comprehensive physical examination. Most patients looking for hives treatment in Washington DC also need a variety of laboratory tests as part of the evaluation for possible causes of the condition. Most protocols involve testing for the thyroid, liver, and kidney function as well as screening for autoimmune conditions.

For patients requiring hives treatment in Washington DC, the board certified allergy doctors at Black & Kletz Allergy can offer a variety of treatments.  These may include combinations of oral antihistamines, leukotriene antagonists, and/or anti-inflammatory agents.  It should be noted that in rare instances, injectable biological medications [e.g. Xolair (omalizumab)] may need to be used in order to control recalcitrant cases of hives.

The board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy have 3 convenient locations in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan region.  We have been diagnosing and treating hives and angioedema and providing all types of allergy care to this area for more than 50 years.  We treat both pediatric and adult patients.  Our offices are located in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA and all offer on-site parking.  For further convenience, our Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible.  In addition, our McLean, VA office location offers a complementary shuttle that runs between this office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line.  For an appointment, please call one of our offices.  Alternatively, you can click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours by the next business day.  If you suffer from hives or swelling episodes, it is our mission to help alleviate your undesirable symptoms, so that you can enjoy a better quality of life.

Many individuals in the Washington DC metropolitan area break out in hives (i.e., urticaria) every year.  Hives are red, itchy blotches and welts that appear on the skin.  They can however affect any part of the body.  They can be of various sizes and shapes and be extremely itchy.  Hundreds of not thousands of people seek hives treatment in Washington DC every year.  Hives can also be very disfiguring, especially when they affect the face and neck.  Due to their annoying nature, many individuals seek hives treatment in Washington, DC.  Individual lesions usually subside within 24 hours, but one can break out in multiple crops of lesions in a single day, making the condition very bothersome and forcing people to search for hives treatment in Washington DC.  In addition to their Washington DC office location, the board-certified allergy specialists at Black & Kletz Allergy have additional office locations in McLean VA (Tysons Corner VA) and Manassas VA.  Patients who suffer from hives look for hives treatment Washington DC inhabitants trust, like the allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy.

Sometimes the hives are also associated with swelling of soft tissues (i.e., angioedema).  The swelling usually involves the eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, and feet, but can occur anywhere in the body including internal organs such as the stomach and intestines.  Swelling in the stomach and/or intestines may cause the individual to experience abdominal pain and/or diarrhea.  Facial swellings lead to an extreme unsightly appearance making people miss work and school.  The disfigurement makes people look for emergency angioedema and hives treatment in Washington DC.  If the swellings involve the throat, they can cause difficulty in swallowing and difficulty in breathing, which can be life-threatening.  If this occurs, immediate treatment in Washington, DC is needed.  For this reason, patients with angioedema are often prescribed self-injectable epinephrine devices (e.g., EpiPen, Auvi-Q, Adrenaclick).  If an individual uses their self-injectable epinephrine device, they must go to the closest emergency room for subsequent evaluation and treatment.

If hives last less than 6 weeks, they are called acute urticaria.  If they last longer than 6 weeks, they are classified as chronic urticaria.  Common causes of hives in Washington DC include allergic sensitivity to foods, medications and/or insect stings.  In some cases, the cause is very obvious, like breaking out in hives within a few minutes or hours after eating a new food, taking a new medication, starting to use a new personal care product, or an insect sting.  In other cases, the cause is not immediately apparent.  Infections, especially viral infections, are a common cause of hives and swellings.

Most individuals who break out in rashes seek treatments for suspected hives in Washington DC to figure out the possible cause of the condition.  Before hives treatment in Washington DC is started, every attempt should be made to identify the triggering and aggravating factors for hives and swellings.  The board-certified allergists, like the ones at Black & Kletz Allergy, usually begin the process by obtaining a comprehensive history and physical examination.  Essential information includes the number, frequency, and distribution of hives over the body.  The duration of the disorder as well as the association with any foods, medications, vaccines, etc. will sometimes provide clues to the cause of the condition.  A history of infections involving the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems may be very helpful.  Occasionally, individuals in Washington DC seek treatment for hives at the same time (clusters), making an infectious cause more likely.  The next step after the history and physical examination would likely be laboratory tests.  The laboratory tests are obtained in order to look for any abnormality of the functions of organs such as the liver, kidney, thyroid, etc.  However, in a vast majority of cases, no definite cause can be identified in spite of all the tests.   It is termed “idiopathic” when no specific cause can be established.  This is the case in about 95% of chronic hives.

The chemical responsible for the itching and rash is histamine in most instances.  The first step in hives treatment in Washington DC is beginning an antihistamine medication by mouth on a regular basis.  Sometimes more than one antihistamine and/or in higher than regular doses may be required to adequately control hives in Washington DC.  If antihistamines do not adequately relieve the hives and/or itching, other medications can be added to the antihistamines.  Occasionally, monthly injections of a biological medication may be needed for hives treatment in Washington DC.  Black & Kletz Allergy has board-certified allergists and trained staff to offer hives treatment Washington DC can trust, as residents of the Washington DC metropolitan area have done for more than 50 years.