Urticaria, also called hives, are red, itchy, swollen areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body.

Usually, the cause is readily identifiable—often a viral infection, reaction to drugs, food, or latex. Hives usually go away spontaneously or by avoiding the allergic trigger. In some cases, medicine is needed to increase comfort or prevent recurrence.

Some people have chronic urticaria that occurs almost daily for months or, in some cases, years. For these individuals, scratching, pressure or stress may aggravate hives. An allergist/immunologist can diagnosis the problem and prescribe treatments for this bothersome condition.

Learn More About Hives

Video courtesy of the American College of Asthma, Allergy, & Immunology (ACAAI)

Recommended reading:

  • Urticaria overview – A “plain-english” explanation of urticaria symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).
  • Hives by WebMD – Another “plain-english” and peer-reviewed resource on urticaria, detailing different forms of urticaria and treatments.
  • Read the latest – The latest articles on urticaria in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). Type “urticaria” in the search field that says “Search all research summaries” on the right.
  • “Allergy TV” by MedScape – Watch useful allergy videos online.