The itching and swelling caused by a mild case of hives typically lasts for 24-48 hours. However, chronic and acute hives are something else and can last for many years. Their impact is physical, emotional and social.
No matter the type of hives, what is important is that it should be treated. If left untreated, an acute or mild case of hives can become chronic and even cause angioedema. The worst consequence of hives is death, and the best consequences can be irritation, disability, social immobility, interference in the quality of life, and more. Therefore it makes sense to treat the condition without any procrastination.
Hives can be caused by anything – by food, by mercury amalgam fillings in cavities, medications, insect bites, excess heat, alcohol, stress, etc. Whatever the cause may be, medical experts reckon that hives occur because of the patient’s immune system’s reaction to an outside event.
Now, here’s what can happen if hives are left untreated:
- Every outbreak of hives causes itching and discomfort. A chronic case of hives will surely lead to frequent itching and intense discomfort on a daily basis. Angioedema also causes itching and discomfort. Here’s how it feels: a painful and searing sensation in the swollen areas that itch all the time causing intense discomfort to the patient.
- Chronic and severe hives can cause swelling inside the mouth or throat, which invariably blocks the air passages. This can cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing. These are acute conditions that need emergency medical attention. These conditions can occur regularly if severe hives is not treated. Difficulty in breathing can lead to loss of consciousness.
- Hives in the mouth can cause gastrointestinal dysfunction along with many other diseases of the digestive system.
- Hives can also cause anaphylactic shock, which is a deadly allergic reaction that impacts the heart or lungs. This happens because when hives occurs in the throat, the bronchial tubes narrow down, making it difficult to breathe. When breathing is restricted, the patient gets dizzy, his blood pressure drops and he can lose consciousness and even die. This shock happens suddenly and rapidly and needs emergency medical care.
- Swelling of the white part of the eye can happen because hives inflame the transparent layer that covers it. This can adversely impact vision.
- Hives invariably leads to sleep disorders. Itching and discomfort interferes with the sleep. Result: the patient does not get adequate sleep and that ruins his day. He gets into a bad mood and becomes an unproductive citizen in the day time, and a harassed, itchy man in the night. Lack of sleep also leads to fatigue.
Emotional and Social Impact
- Chronic hive patients lead very negative lives. They feel let down by their bodies and all that itching and swelling puts them in a bad mood. They get stares from their friends and passers-by, and that upsets them. Their bad mood rubs off at work, home, and on friends. Not only does their quality of life suffer, whoever is in their circle gets impacted as well. One study has likened the emotional trauma caused by hives to trauma caused by heart disease.
- Too much negativity can lead to chronic stress and depression, which can cause severe psychological problems.
- Hives patients feel that the social heat is on them. They feel ignored by friends and relations. They are shunned by people around them because of their continuous itching and bad mood. Hives patients feel isolated and let down by society. If this is allowed to continue for a long time, it can cause suicidal thoughts, extreme negativity, the feeling of extracting revenge from society, and other evil feelings.
- Research has established that many hives patients force themselves to lead isolated lives. They don’t work out or mingle with friends. Their quality of life drops – they are alone in their spare time, their eating choices and behavior plunges, their social relationships may not stick, their mood changes often, they cannot concentrate, they suffer from the side effects of drugs, their embarrassment quotient increases, their self-esteem drops, and more.
To Sum Up
Hives can start off mildly and then go on to assume serious proportions. Therefore, all hive patients must seek immediate medical help and get rid of the condition as quickly as possible.