What are hives?
Hives are raised, red patches of skin that are usually itchy. Hives can be due to an allergy or other causes. In most cases, hives come and go within a few hours but in some people they will show up again and again. Some people who get hives also get a condition called “angioedema.” Angioedema is puffiness or swelling which usually happens in the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, hands, feet, or genitals.
Why did I get hives?
If you just got hives for the first time, you might have a new allergy to something. If your hives are caused by an allergy, you will need to avoid whatever you are allergic to.
- Medicines, such as antibiotics or aspirin
- Foods, such as eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish
- Something they touched, such as a plant, animal saliva, or latex
- Insect stings
Hives can also be caused by:
- Having cold air or water on the skin
- Having something press or vibrate against the skin
- Changes in body temperature (such as when you cool down after a hot shower or a work out)
- Rarely, autoimmune disease or other diseases may cause hives.
See a doctor or call 911 – If you suddenly get hives or get puffy and also have any of these symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Tightness in the throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cramps or stomach pain
- Passing out
How are hives treated?
Hives usually will go away in a few days or weeks, but they may persist for month’s even years. If you do need treatment, the first step is to figure out if anything triggered the hives. Skin testing and/or lab work looking for causes can be very helpful.
To relieve itching, you can take medicines called antihistamines. These are the same medicines people usually take for allergies. There is also an injectable medicine for people with severe symptoms.
If you have severe hives or your hives will not go away, your doctor might suggest that you take some steroids (Prednisone) for a short period of time.