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Skin Care and Diseases

Sun poison

05/09/2006

Question:

What I can do about hives cause from the heat and sun.

Answer:

It is interesting that you have apparent solar urticaria.  For more information you need to read several papers published first in the early 1970's by Walter B. Shelley, et al. in which he described the role of light in the release of histamine from mast cells, producing hives within 10 to 15 minutes of being exposed to sunlight outside. 

Protective measures are your best bet.  Taking nonsedating antihistamines such as Allegra might be helpful, but you must take it on a daily basis or at least before going out in the sun.  Wearing a sunscreen that protects against UVA and is not washed away by perspiration or swimming would be helpful. 

If heat is truly a part of your process, then you should seek the care of a board certified dermatologist who might order laboratory tests to see if you have any pyroglobulins in your blood.  In any event, it may be important for you to seek medical care from someone knowledgeable about solar urticaria. 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati