Can hives be prevented?
Making lifestyle adjustments that limit or avoid hive flare-up triggers are most often the best way to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak or recurrences. It is not always possible to completely prevent a hive outbreak experience.
A diagnosed allergy (or known cause such as medications, environmental factors, foods or exposure to certain pets) is one-way triggers can be easily avoided. (16) Treatment for specific allergies can also help to reduce risk and alleviate outbreaks.
If a cause is not entirely known, and frequent flare-ups occur, keeping a journal or diary which draws parallels between ‘cause and effect’ (e.g. food consumed and a possible reaction) may help to identify and thereby avoid potential triggers.
For solar hives, protective measures can include:
- Careful management of sun exposure (refraining from being out in the sun when at its strongest – often between 10 am (17) and 4 pm, and gradually increasing time outdoors during the in-between months – spring and autumn or fall – to try and better adapt to stronger sunlight exposure).
- Wearing lightweight or closely woven clothing which provides maximum coverage (long pants or skirts and sleeved garments).
- Wearing clothing which has a UPF (ultraviolet) protection factor of at least 40, as well as a sunscreen (broad-spectrum) approved by a treating medical professional (and applied regularly).
- Making use of anti-sun aids such as sunglasses, hats with a broad brim and umbrellas.
16. Medline Plus. August 2018. Hives: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000845.htm [Accessed 29.08.2018]
17. Harvard Health Publishing - Harvard Medical School. January 2014. Sun Allergy (Photosensitivity): https://www.health.harvard.edu/allergies/sun-allergy-photosensitivity [Accessed 29.08.2018]