Allergist located in Valencia, CA


Approximately 20% of Americans will develop hives at some point in their lives. Hives result in red, itchy patches of skin that can be uncomfortable and interfere with your daily life. At her self-named practice in Valencia, California, Maricar Cutillar-Garcia, MD, offers skilled care to patients of all ages suffering from hives. She can help diagnose the cause of your hives, prescribe medication, administer allergy shots, and help you take preventive measures for the future. To learn more, call the office today or use the convenient online scheduling tool. 


Hives Q & A

What are hives? 

Hives, or urticaria, are itchy patches of skin or swollen red welts. Substances or certain situations can trigger hives, causing this allergic reaction. 

You may have hives if you have red or skin-colored raised, itchy bumps. They can be as tiny as your fingertip or as large as a dinner plate.

When you press the center of the red hive, it may turn white — known as blanching. Hives can appear anywhere on your body, and it’s common for them to move, change shape, disappear, and then reappear. 

Hives may be short-lived (acute) and or long-term (chronic). Although hives aren’t life-threatening, it’s important to seek emergency care if they’re accompanied by swelling of your throat and lungs — anaphylaxis. This can block your airways and requires immediate treatment.

What causes hives?

Certain substances can trigger hives, such as:

  • Food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts, and shellfish)
  • Medications (like antibiotics, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Plants
  • Extreme cold or heat
  • Exercise 
  • Sun exposure
  • Latex
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bacterial infections 
  • Viral infections

You may be at higher risk for acute hives if you have asthma, allergic rhinitis, or dermatitis — especially for children. Periods of extreme stress may also lead to hives. 

How can you treat hives? 

Your provider may conduct a skin test or blood test to properly identify what allergen is causing your hives. 

During a skin test, they test suspected allergens on your skin. If your skin becomes red or swollen, you’re sensitive to the particular allergen.

With a blood test, your provider sends your blood sample to an outside lab. There, they test for antibodies, which fight off allergies. If your body makes a surplus of antibodies, you may exhibit hives.

Depending on the severity of your hives, you may benefit from treatments and preventive measures, including:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroid medication 
  • Allergy shots (for chronic hives)
  • Biologic treatments (like Xolair®)
  • Carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen®)
  • Avoiding triggering foods 
  • Using gentle soap and bathing frequently 
  • Wearing loose fitting clothing 
  • Avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures 
  • Applying sunblock 
  • Stopping the use of triggering medication 
  • Managing stress

To learn more about treatment for your or your child’s hives, call Maricar Cutillar-Garcia, MD, today or schedule an appointment online.