Common skin conditions


Who hasn’t joked about someone giving them hives? More than just a popular expression, this rash is really a skin condition. The proof: one in five people suffers from it sporadically. Don’t worry, an irritating person isn’t one of the factors that can cause hives!


There are two main types of hives: acute (lasting less than 6 weeks) and chronic (lasting more than six weeks). They generally both have the same symptoms: the appearance of swollen red or pink patches in irregular shapes. The itching that accompanies this rash can be very intense, but the breakouts never last more than 24 hours. The patches disappear as quickly as they appeared and don’t leave scars on the skin.

If other symptoms accompany the breakouts, such as fever or swelling of the throat, it is best to consult a doctor, as they can be associated with more serious health problems.


 It is quite difficult to find the exact causes of the breakout: in 80% of cases, the cause remains unknown. Anyone can get hives. However, exposure to external irritants, and even physical or genetic factors can trigger a breakout:

  • A reaction to medication, food, insect bites, animals, cosmetic products or chemicals;  
  • A physical reaction such as rubbing or strong pressure on the skin and exposure to heat or cold;
  • An emotional reaction (intense stress);
  • A blood or system condition.


Like most skin conditions, there is no miracle cure for hives. You have to know what triggered the outbreak in order to treat it.  Acute hives, which isn’t serious, often disappear by themselves in a few hours, but taking an antihistamine for a few days can help relieve any symptoms. For more serious cases, or when over-the-counter antihistamines aren’t enough, there are prescription treatments available. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

To soothe any discomfort due to itching, you can apply a topical cream to the affected area, or take a bath with colloidal oatmeal.  Ask your Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist about the best way to handle a breakout.

As well, here are certain things to do in order to minimize breakouts:

  • Avoid irritating the affected area when washing or drying yourself off;
  • Avoid scratching; this makes the hives worse;
  • Don’t wear tight clothing made of synthetic, or other material;
  • You can relieve the itching with a cool shower or with cool compresses.

In more serious situations, such as facial swelling, consult a health professional as quickly as possible.

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist-owners cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

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