Hives, also known as urticaria, affects about 20 percent of people at some time during their lives. It can be triggered by many substances or situations, and usually starts as an itchy patch of skin that turns into swollen red welts. The itching may be mild to severe. Scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise and emotional stress may worsen the itching.
- Raised itchy bumps, either red or skin-colored
- “Blanching” (when pressed, the center of a red hive turns white)
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- Some food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish)
- Medications, such as antibiotics (especially penicillin and sulfa), aspirin and ibuprofen
- Insect stings or bites
- Physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, exercise or sun exposure
- Blood transfusions
- Bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and strep throat
- Viral infections, including the common cold, infectious mononucleosis and hepatitis
- Pet dander
- Some plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy
Hives Management and Treatment
- Avoid known triggers
- See one of our allergists who will look for triggers to your hives. He or she may recommend medications to prevent the hives or to reduce the severity of symptoms. Whether the treatment is available only by prescription or over the counter will depend on several factors, including how uncomfortable the hives are making you.
For more information on hives management and treatment click here.