Infinite Itch: Learning to Live With Hives

By: From the NY Times

Bill Brancaccio inherited a sharp mind and a brawny physique from his Long Island family, and something more: a susceptibility to hives, itchy, red welts that can last for minutes or for days, sometimes recurring for weeks, months or even years. Mr. Brancaccio’s first attack occurred in his midteens. “I became allergic to cold water,” he said. “I went swimming and developed hives all over my body. They went away in an hour or two, but recurred every time I swam.”
Hives of one sort or another afflicts about one person in five at some time during their lives. For most, the problem is short-lived or “acute,” lasting less than six weeks. A specific cause, or trigger, can usually be identified.
Common triggers of acute urticaria include medications like antibiotics, aspirin and other Nsaids (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and opiates; foods like nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish, wheat, eggs, milk and soybeans; infections of all kinds, including upper respiratory infections; insect stings, especially by bees and wasps; allergens like latex or pollen; and physical stimuli like cold, heat, exercise or sweat. . read more

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