Saturday, July 4, 2009

Symptom 4 for stress: Hives

Cause: Hives are itchy welts that can form on your skin when cells release histamine (a chemical that causes small blood vessels to dilate and fluid to accumulate near the surface). An allergy or irritation usually causes this response, but hormones released in times of stress can worsen it. Stress induced hives even can have name: stress urticarial. This problem often has a simpler cause: stressed individuals sometimes scratch themselves raw.

Fixes: Don’t rake your neck or claw at your chin when you’re tense. Keep something in your hand so you won’t scratch yourself: A pen, a football, a wad of therapeutic clay. Physicians often prescribe meditation and other relaxation practices to stop hives, rub them with a calamine lotion or an ice cube wrapped in plastic to cool your skin.

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