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Urticaria (Hives) Specialist

Neal Bhatia, MD -  - Dermatologist

Neal Bhatia, MD

Dermatologist located in Kearny Mesa, San Diego, CA

Hives can cause annoying symptoms, and in some cases, they can be dangerous. Dr. Bhatia helps patients in the San Diego, CA, area determine the cause of hives so they can avoid triggering events, and he also provides effective treatments to quickly relieve symptoms.

Urticaria Q & A

What are hives?

Hives (or urticaria) are small, reddish raised areas that appear suddenly on the surface of the skin, sometimes occurring singly, but often occurring in groups called plaques. They can cause symptoms like itching, burning or stinging, and they can appear anywhere on the skin, as well as inside the throat or mouth. Most hives resolve within a a few hours, but when the cause of hives is not identified and eliminated, the hives can persist for much longer.

What causes hives to occur?

Most hives are caused by allergic reactions to foods, medication, pet dander, skin products, soap or detergents, plants like poison ivy or other allergens, but in some people, they can also be caused by:

  • metabolic disease

  • problems with the immune system

  • stress

  • infection

Dr. Bhatia will perform a complete evaluation, including discussing what you were doing just before you noticed the hives, to determine the underlying cause.

What treatments are available?

The first step in treating hives is identifying what caused them – the trigger – so it can be avoided. To treat symptoms, Dr. Bhatia may prescribe oral medications or topical creams or lotions to relieve itching and help skin “calm” itself. Cool compresses can also be applied to the skin to help reduce the itchiness. In severe cases, such as when the mouth or throat are affected or when severe swelling occurs under the skin (a condition known as angioedema), an injection of epinephrine may be needed to resolve symptoms and prevent breathing issues. Hives that occur in the mouth or throat should be treated as a medical emergency since they can interfere with breathing. When an allergy is suspected, Dr. Bhatia may order lab work or skin tests to determine or confirm the cause.

Major Insurance Providers Accepted

As a courtesy to our patients, we will bill your insurance company on your behalf for all covered medical procedures. Please review your specific insurance plan for co-pay, deductible and other benefit information prior to your office visit.

If you have questions about our payment requirements or changes to the insurance plans we accept, please call our office.

Please note - We do not accept Covered California

All patients will be responsible for determining their eligibility status prior to their office visit or upon any changes to their insurance plan. If you are not sure Therapeutics is in your network, please call the number on the back of your insurance card.

***A current insurance card and photo ID are required at your initial visit and upon any changes to your plan.***

Anthem Blue Cross of California
Blue Shield of California
Health Net