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Hives caused by ragweed?
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Hives caused by ragweed?

I am a 30-year old woman who has been breaking out into hives all over my body for about two weeks now. I have never had hives before – at first, they were mild, but have grown more severe this week. They are worst in the late-evening and morning hours. I have also had mild swelling in my upper lip, which reduced after about 24 hours. I went to see my family doctor, and she thinks it is likely seasonal allergies (namely, ragweed). I have been taking over the counter antihistamines which have relieved, but not eliminated the hives. I have had ragweed allergies in the past (worst around Labour Day), but have not been affected in the past few years. This morning, they spread to my face, which terrified me. Is it possible for a ragweed allergy to cause this reaction? I am very afraid they won’t resolve themselves and I’m going crazy from the constant itchiness. Please help!
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Allergy to ragweed is not ordinarily a cause of hives, but an individual who is prone to allergic reactions might be at increased risk of hives.  Finding the cause of hives requires some "detective work", with careful consideration of all recent exposures, including food and liquid ingestion.  Stay with the anti-histamine until the hives resolve.  If they continue to worsen, you may need a short course of oral corticosteroids.  You can safely ignore slight, quickly resolving swelling of the lips but greater swelling, especially if accompanied by swelling of the tongue should be considered a medical emergency and should be quickly treated with steroids, such as prednisone or cortisone.  Please read our hives (urticaria) information at http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-info/diseases/allergy/about/conditions/hives.aspx to learn more.

Sorry to say, but the cause of a large percentage of cases of hives, is never found.  This may change in the not too-distant future as hives have become a disease of great interest to many medical researchers.
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I am a 29-year old woman who started breaking out into hives as well.  It started on my arms, then spread to my neck and face.  I went to the doctor and blood work was done.  It showed that I am allergic to peanuts, wheat, shrimp, along with many environmental allergies.  I was quite shocked as I have never had any problems or allergies to foods before.  
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