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Hives - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Hives? What causes hives? Diagnoses: Treatment:

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.

Popular Questions & Answers

Suffering from urticaria atopic dermatitis have taken several medicines also but getting temporary relief have use tab omnacortil, tab teczine, tab dazilm, lotion venusia lotion, aqua etc can any one suggest me permanent medication to get out of this skin condition.

Both of your conditions are not something which can be cured completely over night (eg like food poisoning). These diseases are primarily control (like diabetes and Hypertension). So look for treatment options which can control them better.... Hav...
1 person found this helpful

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.

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 environme...
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.

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 hom...

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.

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 an...

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