Steps such as staying cool and dry, wearing loose clothes, or applying a cool compress to affected areas of skin can help a person manage hives that flare in hot, sunny weather.
Chronic hives is an ongoing condition that causes itchy bumps on the skin. Some people with chronic hives may find that the summer months can aggravate their condition, as factors such as heat, sweat, and sunlight can all trigger a flare-up.
This article looks at how summer conditions may affect chronic hives, tips for managing this condition in hot weather, and when to contact a doctor.
Below are some methods that might help a person manage flare-ups of hives.
Identify and manage triggers
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), people may benefit from tracking any potential triggers that could be causing their hives. Keeping a diary of hive symptoms, flare-ups, and potential triggers may help people identify a pattern.
Where possible, people can aim to avoid these triggers or limit their exposure to them. A symptom diary can also be a useful tool for helping a doctor or allergist diagnose and treat the condition.
Stay cool and dry
Heat and sweat may trigger or aggravate hives. People can protect themselves from the heat by:
- staying in shady areas when possible
- wearing sun-protective clothing
- wearing sunscreen
Since ultraviolet light can trigger hives, it is important to protect the skin from sunlight and avoid tanning beds.
It is also important to drink plenty of fluids in hot weather to help prevent dehydration.
When a person feels stressed, the body can release adrenalin. This release of adrenalin can trigger a flare-up of hives, which may last for up to an hour.
Positive ways to manage stress include:
Wear loose-fitting clothes
Wearing loose-fitting clothing may help provide temporary relief from the itching that chronic hives can cause, reports the AAD. People may find cotton clothing more comfortable than other fabrics.
Pressure on the skin, including from tight clothes or a bag strap, may cause irritation for people with chronic hives. So it can help to avoid any extra items that may add pressure as they sit on the body.
Apply a cool compress
According to the AAD, people may want to apply a cool compress to the affected area of skin several times per day. People can make a cool compress at home by wrapping ice cubes or a bag of frozen vegetables in a washcloth.
If a person has cold urticaria, it may help to avoid swimming in cool water or being in air-conditioned buildings.
Doctors may prescribe or recommend the following medications to manage chronic hives:
- sulfones, such as dapsone
- leukotriene antagonists
- hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
- omalizumab (Xolair)
- H2 antihistamines, such as famotidine (Pepcid)
- prednisone, a steroid that is highly effective for managing severe hives but is only suitable for short-term use due to its side effects
People may be able to buy some hives medications over-the-counter (OTC), but many of the above are prescription only.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, heat and sweat can trigger hives. Both of these factors may be more common in the summer months.
Heat urticaria is a type of hives that occurs when heat makes direct contact with the skin. Hot air and sun exposure may trigger heat urticaria.
Heat can also cause the body to release adrenalin, which can cause hives to appear rapidly.
Solar urticaria is a
Cold urticaria refers to hives that develop when a person comes into contact with something cold. Cold urticaria may occur in hot weather if people swim in cool water or enter an air-conditioned room.
If people have chronic hives, it is best to contact a doctor. Chronic hives are those that last longer than 6 weeks and may last for months or up to 5 years.
Chronic hives may link to an autoimmune disorder, in which certain triggers cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the body.
Chronic hives may also indicate an underlying health issue, such as a hormonal problem or thyroid disease. In many cases, there is no apparent cause of chronic hives.
If people find that their symptoms worsen over the summer months, they can speak with a doctor about changing their treatment strategy. Doing so may help them better manage their symptoms.
Many medications for chronic hives are prescription only, so it is important that people discuss a suitable treatment plan and any possible side effects with a doctor.
The summer months may increase the likelihood of exposure to sunlight, heat, and sweating, all of which can trigger chronic hive flare-ups.
Steps such as avoiding overheating, protecting the skin from the sun, and wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing may help people manage chronic hives during the summer.
Medications, such as antihistamines, can also help relieve symptoms. People can speak with a doctor to help find a treatment plan that works for them, as well as to check for any underlying health issues.