Dr Oz: What Causes Hives? + How To Treat An Allergic Reaction

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Dr Oz: What Do Hives Look Like?

Dr Oz proposed a scenario: you may be having dinner with friends or in a much more stressful situation when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, small red itchy bumps begin to form on your skin. It could be hives, but what caused it and what can you do to get rid of them? Dr Oz asked for an Assistant of the Day to help with the discussion.

Dr Oz welcomed down Dawn, who shared that she actually got hives once after eating seafood from a supermarket. When she got them, she took Benadryl, but then her lips started to swell, so she ended up going to the doctor. Dr Oz said since she’s had hives before, she should be pretty good at finding them. Dr Oz wanted to help his viewers determine the difference between hives and other forms of skin irritation.

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Dr Oz: What Causes Hives? + How To Treat An Allergic Reaction

Dr Oz took a closer look at hives, what triggers them, and how you should treat them. (ampyang / Shutterstock.com)

Dr Oz gave Dawn six examples of forms of skin irritation and asked if any of them looked like the hives she had. Dawn said the first picture looked like what she had, and Dr Oz said she was correct in saying that it was hives. Of course, at that point Dawn revealed she was a nurse. The other five pictures were pictures of eczema, heat rash, bug bite, psoriasis, and rosacea.

Dr Oz: What Causes Hives?

Dr Oz then explained that some of the things that can trigger hives include food, medications (particularly antibiotics), insect stings, pollen, animal dander, latex, and stress. Dr Oz explained that sometimes your body can confuse stress with something invading your body, and that’s why it can cause hives. Dr Oz asked Dawn what stresses her out and she said, “I live in New York, I’m holding Dr Oz’s hand, kids.”

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Dr Oz asked Dawn to represent histamine by wearing a pair of boxing gloves. Then, the punching bag represented triggers that irritate histamine. He said the triggers are things that irritate you and cause a chemical reaction and the release of histamine. The marks that Dawn left on the punching bag represented  hives. He said histamine isn’t our enemy, because we actually want histamine to protect us. When it attacks too aggressively, you end up with a reaction that you don’t want.

Dr Oz: Treating Hives

So what can you do about it? There are antihistamines that can be taken orally or topically, or you can use a cold wet compress. He said taking a hot shower will only make the rash worse. If you’re having trouble breathing, call 911, because if your airway swells you may suddenly be unable to breathe.

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