Vitamins are known to instigate hives if an individual has an allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients present in vitamin supplements. Some individuals can end up with an allergic reaction to the vitamin itself, but it is considered rare.
Once an individual takes any medication or supplement, there is a risk for ending up with an allergic reaction. In case hives manifest after taking a vitamin supplement, a doctor should be consulted for further assessment of the condition. Remember that hives are one of the initial indications of an allergic reaction that can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Allergy to vitamins
Even though vitamin supplements can help maintain the daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs, ending up with hives is considered alarming for most individuals. The individual might be highly sensitive to a component or ingredient in the supplement such as wheat proteins or milk proteins or allergic to the vitamin.
During an allergic reaction, part of the supplement is identified by the immune system as a threat but it is actually safe. The body produces immunoglobulin E antibodies that attack the allergen. Take note that these antibodies cause the mast cells in the soft tissues to produce histamine which is a chemical that can cause inflammation and swelling.
Hives are triggered by the elevated levels of histamine in the upper layers of the skin. The high level of histamine leads to inflammation and irritation which initiates an outbreak of hives in the body. The hives are red, itchy, elevated and flattened areas of skin that manifest in different sizes and shapes.
Most cases of hives are triggered by medications, food or insect bites. Hives that develop with shortness of breath, facial swelling and lightheadedness are indications of anaphylaxis. This is an allergic reaction that involves the whole body and can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible.
The doctor will recommend setting an appointment with an allergist to perform allergy testing to determine the substance responsible for the allergic reaction. When a skin test is performed, a small amount of different substances are injected under the skin. If the individual is allergic to one or more of the substances, the skin becomes red, inflamed and swollen within 15 minutes.
As for a blood test, it is required to clinically diagnose the condition. A sample of blood is taken and exposed to the potential allergen to determine whether or not the blood produces IgE antibodies.
Hives due to an allergic reaction can be prevented by identifying the exact cause of the reaction and eliminating the offending substance from the diet. Once hives develop, the rash can be managed with antihistamines and topical steroid-based lotions or creams.