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Itchy Red Bumps on Upper Body

Itchy Red Bumps on Upper Body

Overview

An allergic reaction causes itchy red bumps on the upper body, also called hives. Hives cause discomfort and embarrassment for many people. The reaction occurs in the immune system after exposure to a food, medication or other allergen, according to MedlinePlus. Discovering the substance causing the allergy will assist you in choosing the right treatment option. It will also help prevent future hive outbreaks.

Causes

A few different factors cause hives. Sensitivity to foods, such as shellfish, nuts, chocolate and milk, may trigger hives. Sulfites and salicylates, common food additives, may also trigger itchy red bumps on the upper body.

Allergic reactions to medications also cause these bump outbreaks. Common drugs that trigger hives include penicillin, ibuprofen and aspirin. Blood pressure medications may also lead to outbreaks of hives. If you suspect an allergic reaction to medication, contact your doctor. She will assist with choosing a new medication.

Treatments

Mild itchy red bumps on the upper body are treated with over-the-counter medications, such as diphenhydramine, cetirizine or loratadine. Hives that don't respond to nonprescription methods may respond to prescription medications such as levocetirizine or hydroxyzine, according to MayoClinic.com. Doctors prescribe a powerful corticosteroid drug, called prednisone, for the most serious cases of hives.

Home Remedies

Applying cold compresses to the skin soothes itchy bumps on the upper body. A cool bath with uncooked oatmeal and baking soda also calms skin. Some body washes contain oatmeal, and these are also effective. Wear loose clothing on the upper body to allow for air flow. Also, select natural fibers, such as cotton. These allow the skin to breath and prevent trapped moisture.

Considerations

Environmental factors trigger hives in some people. For example, exposure to intensive heat or sunlight releases histamine in the skin, resulting in hive outbreaks. For other people, exposure to cold results in itchy red bumps on the upper body. Track when hive outbreaks occur. Avoid triggers when possible.

Warnings

People with immune-system disorders are at higher risk for developing hives. The tendency to develop hives also appears to run in families. Further, if you take medications for hives, talk about side effects with your doctor. Some medications cause drowsiness, which makes operating a vehicle or machinery dangerous.

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