Hives (Urticaria), Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Hives (Urticaria), Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin condition that can cause discomfort and concern. In this article, we will explore what hives are, their symptoms, and the underlying causes. Additionally, we will discuss potential treatment options to provide relief from this often-persistent ailment.

Table of Content

What Are Hives?

Hives are red, itchy bumps on your skin. They happen when something you're allergic to touches you. The body gets upset and releases histamines. Histamines make your skin swell and itch.

These hives can pop up anywhere on your body. They look like mosquito bites and can be small or big. They sometimes combine together to form larger areas.

Hives Symptoms

The primary symptoms of hives include raised welts on the skin and intense itching. Here's what to look for:

  • Raised Bumps: You might notice raised, red or pink bumps on your skin. These can be small or big.
  • Itching Sensation: The affected area often feels itchy, which can make you want to scratch.
  • Swelling: Sometimes, the skin around the bumps swells up. This can make the area feel warm and tender.
  • Redness: The bumps may turn red, and the surrounding skin might get red too.
  • Change in Shape: The bumps can change shape and size quickly. They might even disappear and reappear in a different area.
  • Stinging or Burning: The affected skin could sting or burn, adding to the discomfort.
  • Happens Fast: Hives can appear suddenly and may go away within hours or a few days.
  • Spreads Around: The bumps can spread to different parts of your body.
  • Triggers Vary: Hives can be triggered by various things, like certain foods, medications, insect bites, or stress.
  • Allergic Reactions: Sometimes, hives are a result of an allergic reaction. In severe cases, they can lead to difficulty breathing or swelling in the face and throat. This needs immediate medical attention.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's recommended to seek medical attention. This will enable healthcare professionals to identify the underlying cause and provide suitable treatment options.

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Hives Causes

Hives happen because of different reasons:

  • Allergies: When your body doesn't like something, like food or pollen, it can cause hives.
  • Medicines: Some medicines can make your skin react and hives appear.
  • Infections: Illnesses like colds can sometimes lead to hives.
  • Insect Bites: When bugs like mosquitoes bite, hives might show up.
  • Stress: Feeling too much stress can trigger hives.
  • Contact with Irritants: Things like soap or plants might cause hives when they touch your skin.
  • Temperature Changes: Sometimes, going from hot to cold or the other way around can bring out hives.
  • Pressure on Skin: Tight clothes or scratching can make hives happen.
  • Exercise: Physical activity, especially if you sweat, might lead to hives.
  • Sun Exposure: Being in the sun too long could cause hives for some people.

In short, hives come from various sources, such as allergies, stress, bites, and more. Your skin reacts and gets all bumpy and itchy. If you get hives a lot, a doctor can help you figure out why and how to treat them.

Types of Hives

There are three main types of hives: acute hives, chronic hives, and physical urticaria. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

  • Acute hives: These hives come suddenly and don't stick around for long. They might pop up after eating a certain food or being exposed to an allergen. Acute hives usually fade away within a few hours or days. Transitioning into a different environment or avoiding triggers can help manage them.
  • Chronic hives: Unlike acute hives, chronic hives are more persistent. They can hang around for weeks or even months. It might be harder to pinpoint the exact cause, making management a bit trickier. However, lifestyle changes, medications, and a doctor's guidance can ease the discomfort.
  • Physical urticaria: These hives have a special trigger – physical factors like pressure, cold, heat, or even exercise. When the skin reacts to these factors, itchy hives appear. Simple activities like scratching or rubbing can lead to these hives. Thankfully, identifying the trigger and taking precautions can minimize their occurrence.

Hives can be acute and sudden, chronic and long-lasting, or caused by physical factors. Learning to recognize them and making the right moves can help keep those uncomfortable hives at bay.

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Treatment for Hives

If you've got hives, there are a few ways to make the itching and redness go away. You can try over-the-counter antihistamines, which are like medicine that helps stop the reaction causing the hives. These medicines are available at the store without needing a prescription

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines:

When you take over-the-counter antihistamines, they can help you feel better by calming down the itchy feeling and reducing the redness on your skin. Some common brands you might find are Benadryl or Claritin. These meds don't need a prescription, but you should still follow the directions and not take more than it says.

  • Prescription antihistamines:

In case the over-the-counter stuff doesn't do the trick, a doctor might give you stronger antihistamines that you can only get with a prescription. These can be more effective in stopping hives from popping up.

  • Other medications:

Sometimes, hives can be stubborn. In those cases, the doctor might suggest other medicines, like corticosteroids. These can bring down the swelling and ease the itching. There are also medications called leukotriene receptor antagonists that can help.

  • Home remedies:

If you're into natural stuff, you can try cool compresses on your skin. These are like cold, damp clothes that you put on the hives. They might help with the itching. Oatmeal baths are another home remedy. You can put oatmeal in a warm bath and soak it for a bit. This can calm your skin.

When to see a doctor?

If you experience persistent hives or sudden swelling that doesn't go away within a day, it's time to consult a doctor. Seek medical help if hives cover a large area, affect your breathing, or are accompanied by other symptoms like dizziness or nausea.

Get Free First Consultations: Book an appointment

Call: 9643264509 Email:

Preventing hives

Hives can be annoying and uncomfortable. You can prevent them by making some simple changes. Follow these steps to keep your skin hive-free.

  • Avoid Triggers: Stay away from things that can trigger hives, like certain foods (nuts, shellfish), insect stings, or extreme temperatures.
  • Mind Clothing: Opt for loose-fitting, breathable fabrics to reduce friction on the skin and lower the chances of hives.
  • Gentle Cleansing: Use mild, fragrance-free soap and avoid hot water during showers to prevent skin irritation.
  • Moisturize: Apply unscented moisturizers regularly to maintain skin hydration and reduce itchiness.
  • Check Labels: Read labels on skincare and household products to avoid chemicals that might cause hives.

By following these steps, you can prevent hives and enjoy healthy, happy skin. Remember, small changes can make a big difference!

Frequently Asked Questions (Hives)

Q: What are hives?
Hives, also known as urticaria, are raised, itchy skin welts that can appear suddenly. They can vary in size and shape and often cause discomfort.

Q: What causes hives?
Hives can be triggered by various factors, including allergies, stress, certain foods, medications, insect bites, and exposure to extreme temperatures.

Q: Are hives dangerous?
Most hives are not hazardous and will go away on their own. However, if accompanied by severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or dizziness, seek medical help immediately.

Q: How long do hives last?
Hives might persist anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Acute hives usually go away within 6 weeks, but chronic hives can persist for months or even years.

Q: Can I treat hives at home?
Mild cases of hives can often be managed at home by avoiding triggers, taking antihistamines, applying cool compresses, and practicing good skin care.

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About Author

Dr. Nisha Sharma

Studied at Red Roses Sr. Sec. School, D-Block, Arya Samaj Mandir; she has established herself into a renowned personality. She received her degrees (both BDS and MDS) in dentistry. She received her fellowship at the Pierre Fauchard Academy (FPFA). She has also received her certifications for full mouth rehabilitation and cosmetic dentistry. Currently, she practices her medicine of dentistry at Dr. Chopra Dental Clinic in Ramesh Nagar, Delhi.

Comments ( 1)

  • Mansi

    Thanks for the valuable information.

    2023-01-05 00:00:00

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