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What Causes Skin Welts?

Allergies to shellfish, like oysters, can cause skin welts.
Hives typically stem from an allergic reaction.
Anti-itch cream can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2014
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Many conditions can cause raised, red skin welts that may or may not itch, including allergies, hives, insect bites, and infection somewhere in the body. The welts, sometimes called skin wheals, usually go away in a few days but can be uncomfortable while on the surface of the skin. In some people, cat hair provokes skin welts, causing fluid to build up under the top layer of skin. Certain medications may induce welts in people who are allergic to something in the formula.

Dermatographia is a condition in those with ultra-sensitive skin who develop skin welts from clothing rubbing against the body. Scratching an itch can also produce wheals in people with this condition. Often, they are also highly sensitive to sunlight and cold temperature, or an abrupt change in temperature. The skin is typically very dry and itchy, and red lines may be present. Moisturizers help ease dermatographia, along with antihistamine medication to control scratching, and it usually disappears quickly.

Hives, or urticaria, can create intense itching along with bumpy welts. Allergies to food, pollen, or drugs can cause hives to erupt anywhere on the body. Among the most common of skin welts in humans, these conditions usually disappear within 12 hours.

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If hives last more than six weeks, a case is referred to as chronic hives. Patients with skin welts that don't diminish with treatment should be tested for a wide range of conditions that may be producing wheals. A weak immune system might be to blame, or an internal infection that generates a rash. Physicians routinely check for different types of cancer, lupus, and internal parasites in patients with chronic urticaria.

Foods have been linked to allergies causing skin rashes or hives, including nuts, dairy products, and eggs. Some people are sensitive to yeast and break out in skin welts after eating baked goods containing yeast. Shellfish is another common source of allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to this type of seafood. Food additives and preservative are not tolerated well by some and can lead to rashes or skin welts.

Along with antihistamine medication, some doctors prescribe steroid treatment for severe cases of hives or similar skin conditions. According to some studies, ulcer medication can block receptors and cause itching. Natural remedies include oatmeal baths to calm itching and hasten healing. Baking soda paste can also be effective for itchy skin. Drinking lots of water aids in flushing pollen or allergens out of the body.

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Discuss this Article

anon341871
Post 4

I find that I only get these welts when I am under severe stress and hold that stress in. I can be really stressed and scream and cry and let it out, and not get welts. But when I hold all that in, welts appear on mostly my arms.

As I have indeed been going through stress as of late, I woke up the other day with one single welt, oddly, on my knee. I ignored it, figuring it was a bug bite or something. And then one appeared on my ankle the next day. Even weirder. The next day, two on my left arm. I grew suspicious. And today, woke up with 11 more on my left arm and two on my right.

I usually tough through it, myself. I've not found anything that helps relieve it, and they go away within days. Sorry I cannot offer any helpful advice other than: don't hold in your stress, let it out, and maybe you won't get them in the first place. Maybe I should follow my own advice.

anon282371
Post 3

My sister showed me these welt-like hard skin on her upper thigh. She said when the hard skin breaks, some fluid comes out and it hurts, and she'd lose her balance and would fall backwards if she's standing.

manykitties2
Post 2

If you suffer from skin welts, and are not sure what to do about the hives besides take medicine, there are some natural ways to help you feel a bit better.

Try to avoid any clothing that is too tight, as it may irritate your skin further. Also choose natural materials, as they are usually less harsh on the skin than synthetic fibers.

Aloe Vera gel is a great option if you need a lotion to sooth the skin. It is very cooling and can stop some of the itching associated with hives.

Finally, adding a bit of baking soda to your bath has been shown to help reduce the itching and redness of skin welts.

letshearit
Post 1

If you develop skin welts from an allergy and find that the antihistamine medication is only helping with the itchiness, but the welts are still sore and raised, you can help to soothe them. If you take an ice cube and gently run it over the welts it can often help to take some of the swelling out. Plus, the cool temperature of the cool cube can numb them a bit so they aren't as painful.

Taking a cool bath can also have a similar result, although I don't find I can take entire body immersion into cold water as well as I can a focused ice cube. It is really up to personal preference.

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