Hives

Hives, also known as urticaria, are red, swollen, itchy areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body. The blotches can migrate on the body, appearing in different areas throughout the course of the reaction. 

The common causes of hives are:

  • An allergic reaction to food
  • An allergic reaction to a medication
  • An allergic reaction to an insect sting
  • An allergic reaction to latex
  • A viral infection
  • Dermatographism – Hives triggered by itching

Some individuals recognize the trigger for their hives.  However, the Board Certified Allergists/Immunologists of Allergy & Asthma Specialists can either confirm the trigger or help to identify the trigger(s).

There are two types of hives: acute hives and chronic hives. Acute hives last less than 6 weeks.  Chronic hives last more than 6 weeks. 

Examination

Your examination at A&AS for Hives might include a panel of skin tests for items suspected of causing the hives. Within 20 minutes, the results of the skin tests might reveal the triggers for the hives. (Link to skin tests) Often, the diagnosis is based on a detailed history and physical exam without a need for skin testing. 

Treatment for hives involves:

  • Avoidance of trigger(s)
  • Antihistamines
  • Severe cases may require steroids