Do you have a rash and don’t know what it is? You’re not alone. Many people find themselves dealing with an unknown rash at some point. Sometimes it’s easy to determine the cause of a rash, such as eczema caused by seasonal allergies. But other times, it can be more challenging to determine the source of a breakout. Let’s look at the difference between eczema vs hives and learn about the most common causes of each type of rash.
What is Eczema & What Does it Look Like?
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that results in dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Allergies, irritants, stress, and weather changes can cause eczema. People with eczema often have family members with the same condition.
There are several different types of eczema, each with its own set of symptoms.
Atopic Dermatitis: The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which usually begins in childhood. Atopic dermatitis typically causes dry, itchy skin that can become cracked and bleeding. Eczema rash often affects the joints, such as the skin around knees, elbows, wrists, fingers, toes, and ankles.
Contact Dermatitis: often caused by an irritant such as a new shampoo, detergent, or perfume
Seborrheic Dermatitis: Usually affects the scalp
Nummular Eczema: Usually appears as coin-shaped patches of dry, itchy skin
Eczema is not contagious, but it can be very uncomfortable. Treatment for eczema typically includes over-the-counter or prescription creams and ointments to relieve symptoms. Oral antihistamines or steroids often help ease eczema symptoms.
Seeing an ENT doctor can help you find treatments for skin allergies that may help reduce your immune system’s reactivity to the offending substances. Reducing your reactivity can eliminate your allergies rather than just treating the symptoms.
What Are Hives and What Do They Look Like?
Hives appear as raised, red welts on the skin that are itchy and may also throb. Often, they appear suddenly without scratching or touching the skin. In contrast, eczema often appears slowly in an area as the individual affected scratches an itchy part of the skin.
Hives can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Hives typically appear in response to an allergen, such as food, medication, or an insect sting. They can also occur due to physical stimuli, such as heat, cold, or pressure.
Hives can be acute or chronic. Acute hives last less than six weeks, while chronic hives can last for months or even years. Hives may go away on their own, but you can also treat them with antihistamines or steroids. In some cases, you’ll need to see an ENT doctor for testing to address the underlying cause of the hives.
What Causes Eczema and Hives?
Many things can trigger eczema flare-ups, including allergies, weather changes, stress, and irritants. Common allergens that can trigger eczema include dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and certain foods.
An allergic reaction to a food, medication, or insect sting can cause hives. However, physical stimuli, such as heat, cold, or pressure, can also cause hives. In some cases, a sudden stressor can cause hives to appear, while at other times, the underlying cause of the hives is unknown.
Can I Develop Eczema or Hives as an Adult?
Eczema and hives can both develop at any age. However, eczema is more likely to develop in childhood, while hives are more likely to occur in adulthood.
The chance of developing eczema as an adult increases if you have a family history of the condition. The likelihood of developing hives as an adult increases if you have a history of allergies or asthma.
What Can an ENT Doctor Do to Treat Allergic Skin?
If you have eczema or hives, an ENT doctor can do several things to help. Skin prick testing or patch testing can determine what triggers your eczema or hives. We can also prescribe medications to help relieve symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
In some cases, we may recommend allergy shots. Allergy shots work by slowly exposing you to small amounts of the substance that triggers your eczema or hives. Shots help your body build up a tolerance to the allergen and can eventually make your eczema or hives disappear entirely.
One of the latest treatments for allergies include sublinguals. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an allergy treatment that involves placing drops of an allergen extract under the tongue. The drops are usually taken daily for several months, and then the dose is gradually decreased. SLIT is effective in reducing symptoms of eczema and hives.
While eczema and hives share some similarities, they are very different conditions. If you suspect you may have either one, it’s essential to see your ENT doctor so they can properly diagnose and treat you.
Enticare Can Help You Find Solutions
If you have eczema or hives, don’t suffer in silence. Call Enticare today and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced allergists. We can help you find relief and get back to enjoying your life.
At Enticare, our board-certified ENT specialists work with you to find the root causes of your allergies and map out solutions that make a difference. If you or your child suffers from eczema or hives, we can help! Call us today to schedule an appointment. We will work with you to find the cause of your rash and develop a treatment plan that works for you.