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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is hives?
Hives is a skin rash characterized by red patches and itchy swellings on the skin, known as wheals (also spelled weals). These swellings, which look like mosquito bites, can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Sometimes hives may be accompanied by …
What are the symptoms of hives?
Hives is characterized by raised swellings that can vary in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters across. Symptoms vary from person to person, but commonly include: red or pale swellings (wheals) with red margins (flares); an itching, burning or …
What causes hives?
Hives occurs when the immune system releases histamine, a natural inflammatory chemical. In turn, histamine causes fluid to leak from the blood vessels in the skin and pool under the skin surface. Normally, this reaction is part of the body's natural response against …
Can hives be serious or life-threatening?
In most cases, hives may be itchy or painful, but usually fades within one to two days without causing any long-term harm. It is usually only potentially dangerous when it occurs with deep swelling or a serious allergic reaction, known as …
How is hives diagnosed?
Your doctor will diagnose hives by looking at your skin and asking about your symptoms, medical history and any family members with an allergy or skin condition. To figure out what is triggering symptoms, your doctor may suggest keeping a food diary or removing …
How is hives treated?
One of the main goals in treating hives is identifying and then avoiding any known causes. However, when symptoms do occur or the cause is unknown, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options: avoiding heat and sweating, and taking …
Are there different types of hives?
There are two major types of hives: ordinary and physical. Ordinary hives is the most common form of the condition. Ordinary hives can appear anywhere on the body and often develops suddenly for no obvious reason. Physical hives is usually triggered by …
What is the outlook for hives?
In most cases, hives usually fades within one to two days without causing any long-term harm. Ongoing cases of chronic hives are uncommon, but may cause distress and sleeping problems, particularly if itching is constant. If treatment is required, hives can …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Votes: 402 (Click smiley face below left to rate)