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Hives - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Hives?

Hives are also known as Urticaria in medical terminology. It is characterized by an outbreak of pale red bumps and swollen wheals (plaques) on the skin. It is the body’s reaction against certain allergies for unknown reason.

Hives on the skin usually cause stinging or burning sensation. They can appear on any part of the body such as the ears, throat, tongue, lips and face. It usually varies in size from a dinner plate to a pencil eraser, sometimes they also join together to form plaques (larger area of hives). Angioedema is a form of hives which is characterized by swelling beneath the skin rather than the surface. Signs of angioedema include swelling around the lips, eyes, feet, hands and genitals. The swelling stays for a maximum of 24 hours after which it disappears.

Hives and angioedema on its own is not fatal, but it can block the airway passage of the lungs, tongue and throat making it difficult to breathe. This can be life threatening in some cases.

What causes hives?

  • Hives are generally caused due to allergic reactions resulting from sunlight exposure, insect stings, chemicals found in certain foods or medications which release a chemical called hisamine.
  • Acute urticaria (hives which last for more than six weeks) are caused due to the consumption of certain foods, infections, medications and insect bites.
  • The most common food products that cause hives are milk, berries, eggs, tomatoes, fish, chocolates and nuts. Some food additives also contribute in causing hives.
  • Angioedema and chronic urticaria are caused due to cancer, infection, hepatitis and thyroid diseases.
  • Physical urticaria is caused due to exercise, sweating, pressure, vibration, sun exposure, heat and cold.
  • > Drugs such as codeine, blood pressure drugs, ibuprofen and NSAIDs (Non anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause hives
  • Dermatoraphism is a form of hives which occurs by scratching or stroking the skin.


Hives are diagnosed by performing routine blood tests and skin tests. This is usually performed under the supervision of a certified gynecologist.


Angioedema and hives are usually treated with the help of antistamines, oral corticosteroids, biologic drugs, omalizumab (Xolair), epinephrine injections and cortisone medications. It is vital to seek medical help if you experience wheezing, dizziness, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest and swelling in the face, lips and tongue.

Applying wet clothes or cool compresses on the affected areas, working or sleeping in a cool room, wearing loose fitting clothes can provide comfort and reduce the symptoms of hives.

Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Extremely itchy bumps Skin colored or red bumps Blanching (while pressing the hives, a red hive becomes white)

Popular Health Tips

Schnitzler Syndrome - Things You Must Know About It!

MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Ghaziabad
Schnitzler Syndrome - Things You Must Know About It!

Schnitzler’s syndrome is a very rare condition described by a reddish rash that looks like hives (urticaria) and lifted levels of a particular protein in the blood (monoclonal IgM gammopathy). Symptoms connected with the Schnitzler disorder may include increased levels of fever, joint inflammation, joint pain (arthralgia), bone agony, and different discoveries, for example, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). It also causes weight reduction, discomfort, exhaustion, and broadened spleen and liver. This condition should be treated in terms of taking care of the symptoms so that they do not become debilitating.

Some of the other symptoms include the following:

  • Urticaria (hives) depicts red raised patches of the skin. These are once in a while irritated. They may last for about 12 hours to 3 days. This may become severely painful if not treated in time.
  • 80% of such patients suffer from painful or swollen. A few patients experience bone pain as well.
  • High fever might be there accompanied by chills and night sweating. This can give rise to further uneasiness and is usually caused when the immune system is attacked by the ailment.
  • One of the main symptoms of the Schnitzler disorder is monoclonal gammopathy. This mostly means a raised level of immunoglobulin M (IgM)

Reasons behind it

The main cause behind the Schnitzler syndrome is unknown. Specialists believe that particular parts of the immune system may not work appropriately in the end because of the Schnitzler syndrome. Individuals with the Schnitzler disorder additionally have monoclonal IgM gammopathy, in which abnormal production of immunoglobins result in elevated levels of immunoglobulin M (IgM) in the body. Immunoglobulins are proteins delivered by the white blood cells. A few analysts believe that IgM antibodies accumulate in the skin (epidermis), setting off a reaction that causes the rash. At the time of diagnosis, IgM levels may just be somewhat raised and may stay stable for quite a long time.


The diagnosis of the Schnitzler disorder is based upon an intensive clinical assessment, patient history, rejection of different other disorders and proof of fever, joint pain or aggravation, bone pain, discernible lymph nodes, amplification of the liver or spleen, lifted quantities of white platelets (leukocytosis), raised red platelet (erythrocyte) or anomalies, which can uncover expanded bone thickness (osteosclerosis).

Anakinra is a successful treatment for Schnitzler syndrome. It is also very commonly used to treat rheumatoid joint inflammation. The following medicines and therapies have been proven to be successful for treating the Schnitzler disorder over a period of time. These are as follows:

  1. Antihistamines
  2. Nonsteroidal calming specialists
  3. Systemic steroids (prednisone)
  4. Hydroxychloroquine
  5. Colchicine
  6. Dapsone
  7. Pamidronate
  8. Thalidomide
  9. Pefloxacin
  10. Phototherapy
  11. Immunosuppressive specialists (ciclosporin, methotrexate, cycloposphamide)
  12. Biologic specialists (tocilizumab, rituximab)

The Schnitzler disorder is a long-term infection, so stopping a promising treatment can tend to cause a relapse and may cause the disease to reappear. Also, the medicines mentioned above should not be taken without consulting a doctor as they can have sever side effects, if not administered under the guidance of a physician.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2454 people found this helpful

Dermographism Urticaria - How It Can Be Treated?

MBBS, Diploma In Dermatology And Venerology And Leprosy (DDVL), Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Nanded
Dermographism Urticaria - How It Can Be Treated?

For some people, even lightly scratching their skin can leave behind raised welts that are similar to hives. This may not be painful, but can affect a person’s self image and confidence. This condition is known as dermographismurticaria or skin writing. This condition is most common amongst teenagers and young adults under the age of 30.

The exact cause of this condition is unclear but it may be triggered by drugs, insect bites, a helicobacter pylori infection or scabies. Psychological factors such a stress and anxiety can also contribute towards this condition. In this condition, scratching the surface of your skin can cause the release of an antigen that interacts with other cells known as mast cells to further release histamines into the tissues. In the process, small blood vessels begin leaking which allows fluid to accumulate under the skin and creates inflammation.

Though this condition is not life threatening and can be treated and managed.

  • The first step towards treating this condition is to recognize its triggers and avoid them. Reducing stress and anxiety can also have a positive effect on this condition. Keeping skin well moisturized will also help reduce itchiness and the urge to scratch.
  • Dermographismurticaria is usually treated with oral anti histamines. In some cases, a combination of two or more antihistamines may be required. This form of treatment will need to be continues for a few months to benefit from it. 

This condition can also be triggered by exposure to extreme temperatures. Hence, the patient should avoid saunas, jacuzzi and freezing temperatures. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3052 people found this helpful

Urticaria (Hives) - The Best Way It Can Be Treated!

MD, DNB, Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases (DTCD), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Urticaria (Hives) - The Best Way It Can Be Treated!

One of the most important functions of the skin is protection. During this process, it comes in contact with various substances including chemicals, pollen, dust, and other pollutants. While it does protect the overall body from all these, there is some damage that is inevitably done to the skin through these exposures. Different skin and different bodies react differently to these, and while some may have no reaction, others develop allergies. This is also defined by how strong the person’s immunity is.

Hives is one of the most common skin allergy responses. While it is not easy to pinpoint what causes the allergy or the hives, the causative agent can be nailed by observing patterns and excluding out some of the causative agents. There are a set of regular household and surrounding items that could lead to urticaria, and working around these can help pin down the source.

Origin: When the body encounters a foreign body, it produces what are known as histamines. When they are produced, the plasma in the cell leaks out, producing a red and swollen appearance. Hives are red, itchy, raised patches on the skin. They are seen in about 20% of the population. Hives are usually allergic in nature, implying that they occur when there is a foreign substance that induces an allergic reaction. Hives can appear either due to coming in touch with some substance or due to eating some allergy-inducing substance.

Hives can be acute or chronic. Acute is when the hives appear in response to an allergic reaction. These usually disappear in a matter of days to a week at the maximum. In some people, they could be chronic and can last for months together.

Treatment: Given that they are allergic in nature, managing hives includes a combination of immediate treatment as well as preventive measures. While most are topically managed, others might require systemic intervention also.

Once the hives have developed, the following can help in the relief of symptoms and prevent from spreading further. The redness and swelling will take some time to disappear.

  1. Avoid tight-fitting clothes
  2. Use cool compresses on the hives
  3. Avoid warm or hot shower
  4. Stay in a cooler room
  5. Avoid itching the hives
  6. Use topical moisturizer to prevent dryness
  7. Use topical steroid cream to manage the inflammation
  8. Take a systemic antihistamine or an injection of epinephrine if required.

While these help in managing the hives which have occurred, preventing is via the following.

  1. Avoid the source once identified
  2. If the source is not yet known, record when the hives are occurring
  3. Manage stress and see hives appear much less
  4. Increase moisturizer use
  5. Keep an antihistamine handy so you can take it immediately in case of suspected hives. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.
2610 people found this helpful

Papular Urticaria - 10 Ways It Can Be Treated!

MBBS, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Pune
Papular Urticaria - 10 Ways It Can Be Treated!

Papular urticaria is a very common reaction to insect bites. It is more commonly seen in youngsters than in grown-ups. Spots with itchy red bumps of 0.2 to 2 cm in width may appear every few days during the summer or autumn months. In some cases, each spot builds up a blister that usually contains liquid.

Despite the fact that the general frequency rate is unknown, papular urticaria has a tendency to occur during spring and summer months. Common symptoms of urticaria can differ from person to person, and as a rule, they tend to create blood red, raised spots on the pores and skin. It creates a bothersome skin sensitivity that may include tiny bumps. Here are a few ways through which you can treat the disease:

  1. Antihistamine: Take an antihistamine solution to lessen the tingling sensation and swelling. Antihistamines that could help in frosty hives are claritin, zyrtec, cyproheptadine, doxepin, ketotifen.
  2. Herbal teas: Herbal teas are additionally very effective in treating papular urticaria. The best home-grown teas to take are parsley or peppermint. These home-grown cures can mitigate the irritation and redness from the skin disease.
  3. Peppermint oilPeppermint oil is best taken orally, as it gives quick relief from papular urticaria.
  4. Staying away from certain foods: Staying from foods that could trigger the disease is important. It is essential that you know about the kinds of foods that could trigger the skin condition. Make a note of the ones you doubt and which ones are causing discomfort to your skin. Also, you can go through 31 food allergy tests to know which ingredients you are allergic to.
  5. Table salt and water: Simply blend table salt with water and drink the mix. This could reduce the skin issue and give it some relief.
  6. Hot and cold packs: Hot and cold packs can help in treating papular urticaria if you apply it on a daily basis to the influenced areas of your skin. Ensure that you use clean towels. It would be better in case you can wash up to lighten the irritation and uneasiness brought on by the skin problem.
  7. Water with turmeric powder: Another simple and straightforward home remedy is mixing water with turmeric powder. Drink a glass of this solution once every day until the side effects begin to vanish.
  8. Essential oils: One of the most famous and successful oils to treat this skin issue is chamomile. Apply the oil to the affected skin range and the irritation and redness of your skin will be at ease.
  9. Topical steroids: Topical steroids in the form of a cream is a prescribed treatment that is instantly beneficial for the influenced skin and when the lesions tend to develop.
  10. Topical soothing agent: Calamine salves and other topical calming lotions are useful in diminishing the irritation. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
2659 people found this helpful

What Are Hives? What Causes Them?

MD (Gold Medalist) Dermatology , DNB (Dermatology), MNAMS, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Medizinische Fakultät
Dermatologist, Kolkata
What Are Hives? What Causes Them?

Hives, also called urticaria are swollen welts or bumps that appear on your skin suddenly.

They itch, burn and sting and can happen anywhere on your body. You can get them on your face, lips, tongue, ears or chest. And in size, they can be as small as an eraser to as large as a plate. They also form plaques and can last for hours or up to several days.


  1. Acute urticaria - These type of hives last less than six weeks. The most common causes are allergies due to certain foods and medications, or infections. These hives can also happen due to diseases or insect bites.
  2. Chronic urticaria - Hives lasting more than six weeks come under this category. What causes them is usually more difficult to identify than what causes acute urticaria. In some cases, chronic hives are caused due to thyroid disease, hepatitis or even cancer. This type can affect your internal organs like lungs, muscles, and the gut. Thus, symptoms include muscle soreness, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  3. Physical urticaria - These types are caused due to direct physical stimulation of the skin due to cold, heat, sun exposure, vibration, pressure, sweating, and exercise.

What causes hives?

Hives happen mostly due to allergies. Some of the common hive triggers are-

Certain foods, especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish- Fresh foods are more likely to cause hives as compared to cooked foods. Certain food additives and preservatives can also play culprits. Medicines like penicillin and sulfa- based antibiotics, aspirin and ibuprofen which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, high blood pressure drugs like ACE inhibitors, and painkillers such as codeine can also trigger hives. Other things that may cause it are:

  1. Insect bites
  2. Latex
  3. Transfusion of blood
  4. Bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and infected throat
  5. Viral infections- common cold and hepatitis
  6. Pollen grains
  7. Plants like poison oak and poison ivy
  8. Sunlight
  9. Cold weather
  10. Pet dander 

    If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.

2457 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, I am 48 years old female. Since 3 years I am suffering with urticaria. Using levo citizen l 5 mg tb alternate days. And also using thyronorm75mg and bp tablet amtas 5 mg.

M.D - Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Hyderabad
Get your serum ige and specifuc ige to check if we can identify any particular antigen a common cause is intestinal worm or other chemical preservatives in food or drugs. Pollen foreign protein dyes etc may also cause. Domestic or office environment may also be carefully examined for changes that might have contributed.
1 person found this helpful

Hello doctor, mere husband ko chapaki (Hives) ho jati hai. Then he applies momate cream phir wo theek ho jati hai. I want to know the reason. He is diabetic.

Homeopath, Hyderabad
Avoid creams without a doctor's prescription. (frequent and long term usage of such creams may not be good for the skin in the long term ). Kindly check his sugar levels as uncontrolled diabetes can exaggerate the condition. You can also start homeopathy which is safe and gentle and helps to overcome chronic tendencies. You can contact me for further details regarding homeopathic treatment.

I am Suffering due to Urticaria Since 2014. My IgE level very high. I feel irritating itching frequently when touch with dust and other foreign particles.

Dermatologist, Chennai
You are suffering from allergic dermatitis causing increased IgE. Medicine available for good improvement. As the treatment varies depending on the severity. Send photos of the affected area, by direct online consultation for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Hi. I’ve been getting hives lately. I’m not sure why they are appearing all over my body but they are really itchy and I want to get rid of them. I’ve been to the doctor’s office and they gave me allergy medicine but the hives came back after I was done taking the medicine.

DNB, M.D. MEDICINE, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Gastroenterologist, Surat
Look it seems to be an allergic hives. You need to figure out what you are allergic to as unless and until you remove the allergen, they will keep coming.

Hi sir mujhe 2 sal se skin allergy chronic urticaria. Hives ki problem h pure skin m khujali or jaln hoti h or red rash bante h please some provide me the suggestion.

Dermatologist, Chennai
You are suffering from Allergic dermatitis Causing hives. Medicine available for good improvement. As the treatment varies depending on the severity. Send photos of the affected area, by direct online consultation for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Hives?

What causes hives?



Play video
Homeopathic Treatment

I am Dr Nandini Sharma and I am the homeopathic physician.

Today I want to talk about allergies. These days we common hear patients coming to us or whenever we go out for party OH I am allergic to eggs , oh I can t go out in the smog; it gives me a lot of itching in the eyes . Being or sometimes everyday in the morning when you hear someone in the house is having continuous sneezes in the morning. These are all the symptoms of allergies. Yes friends, it is allergy which is common in our city. One out of five in Delhi are suffering with one or the other symptoms of allergies. Often patients comes to us taking anti-allergic for years together without any relieve. Homeopathy the allergies can be present in the form of different forms. It can present in the form of respiratory disorders where they can present recurrent tonsillitis, adenoids; they can represent [inaudible 00:01:14] allergic rhinitis which is early morning sneezing, running nose. It can form, it can present in the form of cough. It can also present in the form of your skin symptoms where you have eczema, it can present in your hives and urticarial or chapaki in our common language. It can form also in the form of gastritis where the patient can represent in the form of stomach cramps, loose motions, constipation or diarrhea. It can also sometimes present in the form of joint pain or a muscular pain when people says bile hogai which is a common symptom what common patient talks about. Friends ; these are all symptoms of one disease which is called Alertec. Allergies have different manifesto , I will say is a hydra headed snake which is there in the system. And interestingly when you try to treat one allergy. For example if you treat your asthma or your bronchitis it will starts to manifest in the form of eczema or when you try to treat eczema or when we try to treat hives or skin allergies it may represent in the form of stomach disorder. Yes then what is the answer? Answer is Homeopathic because through homeopathy that we can relieve all your symptoms because homeopathy is not treating one system of your body, It is treating the whole system of your body. Because homeopathic medicine is not being given only on the symptoms of skin symptoms or in the form of symptoms of cough. It is given as a patient as a whole. It individualizes it s a customized medicine. It is like going to homeopathic doctor means you are going to a designer to design your outfit perfectly. So when you go to a homeopathic doctor, they will going to take the whole history, the history doesn t starts from the present symptoms but it starts from the time of your conceivement with a child how is your condition of your mother when you are carrying a baby. It starts from the childhood, it starts from the environment, family environment, it starts from the upbringing of the child. It depends on how and what are the reasons. So it might take one hour to give you a history but it is important to cure your symptoms. Friends; don t get free to anti-allergics for years but treat your conditions with homeopathy. Yes homeopathy can treat your symptoms. Come and take homeopathic pills, these sweet pills, these white pills that you look they are wonderful drugs. Now it has improved through nano technology, homeopathy has power to heal.

Thank you!
Play video
Childhood Diseases and their Homeopathic Management
Hi, I am Dr Chavvi Bansal. And I am practising homoeopathy in Homeopathy and wellness, Pitampura.

Today I would like to discuss Homeopathy and the various childhood diseases and Impact of homoeopathy in various childhood infections. As we know that children are more disposed to infections and they develop diseases readily because they have low immunity and they are more prone to infections. Homeopathy treatment works on the same and it boosts the child's immunity, not to take these infections and fight with them effectively. Commonly found childhood diseases are respiratory diseases are tonsillitis, prolonged bronchitis, prolonged cough, constipation, diarrhoea and gas problems. Children are also more prone to eczema and hives. Bedwetting is also one of the most common childhood diseases, but we have a good homoeopathic treatment for all such diseases.

Coming to the homoeopathic management.

Homeopathic medicines are not just mild and safe but also boosts the child's immunity. So, it basically makes the body immunity strong, so not to take infections or fight them effectively. Also, Children are very soft. Giving them hard medicines will not only affect them in a negative way but also hamper their growth. Hence, it is always advised to give them a homoeopathic treatment.

Homeopathy has given wonderful results on children diseases. It has also been found to increase the child's immunity to its best. It also helps to prevent surgery for adenoids and tonsillitis.

For more queries related to such problems, please feel free to contact me through Lybrate.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice