Hives Specialist

Travis Sifers, MD -  - Allergy & Immunology

The Center for Allergy & Immunology

Travis Sifers, MD

Allergy & Immunology located in Kansas City, MO & Lee's Summit, MO

About 25% of Americans experience the itchiness and discomfort of hives at some point. At The Center for Allergy & Immunology in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit, Missouri, board-certified specialist Travis Sifers, MD, offers hives treatment tailored to the individual. If you need antihistamine therapy or a more aggressive approach like injections, Dr. Sifers can help. Book your appointment by phone or online.

Hives Q&A

What are hives?

Hives are raised patches of skin that can appear suddenly. They're often itchy and uncomfortable. Hives commonly fade within a day, leaving no trace. 

Often, hives occur along with angioedema — significant skin swelling. Hives can be acute or chronic. Acute hives occur for less than six weeks, and chronic hives last longer than that.

What causes hives?

Acute hives commonly happen as a result of food allergies, drug allergies, viral infections, and medications. Chronic hives are rarely allergic. They may be part of an autoimmune disorder. 

Chronic hives can occur as a result of nonallergenic environmental triggers, such as tight clothes, extreme temperatures, scratching or rubbing the skin, sunlight, vibration, and water. 

How are hives evaluated?

Dr. Sifers can usually diagnose hives with a skin exam. But, diagnosis is just the first part of the evaluation. To better assess your hives, Dr. Sifers may ask you about the following:

  • How often they occur
  • How long they last
  • Whether they cause itching or discomfort
  • What you were doing just before they appeared
  • What you were wearing before they appeared
  • What you ate before they appeared
  • Whether you took any medication before they appeared

Answering these questions as specifically as possible can help Dr. Sifers determine whether you need allergy tests, blood tests, or a skin biopsy to identify the reason for your hives.

Unfortunately, finding the exact source of hives can be challenging or impossible in many cases. But, fortunately, you don't need to know why the hives happen to treat them effectively. 

How are hives treated?

Dr. Sifers prescribes a treatment plan with the goals of relieving discomfort and reducing the frequency of your hives.

Nonsedating antihistamines are usually the first-line treatment for hives. They can greatly reduce your itching and swelling. Sedating antihistamines are also a possibility, but they can cause drowsiness and aren't generally as effective as high-dose nonsedating antihistamines.

If antihistamine therapy doesn't work for your severe hives, Dr. Sifers may prescribe an in-office injection treatment. This biologic medication works by adding synthetic antibodies to your blood. These antibodies attach to the antibody causing your hives and neutralize it. 

To learn more about how you can beat hives and angioedema, call The Center for Allergy & Immunology or book an appointment online.