Hives, what are they?

What are Hives?

Itchy, red, rashes

Hives are itchy, red welts on the surface of the skin.  Not all hives look the same.  Hives may be large with raised swollen areas, or small bumps that look like mosquito bites.  Hives usually come and go over the course of a few hours.  However new patches will sometimes take their place.  

The medical term for hives is urticaria.


What causes hives?

Hives are caused by cells in the skin (mast cells) which release substances that cause the itch, swelling and redness. Mast cells are one of the main cells involved in allergic reactions.

Allergic reactions to food, medications, plants, and pets are common causes of hives.

However, hives may also occur without an allergy.  These non-allergic hives can be due to many different reasons, which an allergy specialist can consider.

What is the treatment for hives? 

The best treatment for allergic hives is to avoid the allergic trigger.

Non-allergic hives usually go away by themselves within a few weeks.  However, hives that are persistent or severe, should be reviewed by a doctor, because there are many possible treatments and causes.

Antihistamine tablets (available over the counter in pharmacies) can provide temporary relief of mild symptoms.

Our Specialist Allergist and Immunologists are very experienced regarding this condition & can offer the range of treatment options available.