Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin condition characterized by raised, red, and itchy welts or bumps. They can vary in size and shape and may appear suddenly due to various triggers, including allergies, medications, infections, or stress. Hives typically resolve on their own within a few hours to days but can be recurrent and uncomfortable for those affected.


Diagnosing hives involves a thorough medical history review and physical examination by am allergist. In some cases, allergy testing may be recommended to identify potential triggers, such as specific foods, medications, or environmental allergens. Blood tests or skin prick tests can help pinpoint allergens contributing to hives. Additionally, ruling out underlying medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or infections, may be necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.


Treatment for hives focuses on relieving symptoms and identifying and avoiding triggers. Over-the-counter antihistamines can help alleviate itching and reduce the frequency and severity of hives outbreaks. For more severe or persistent cases, prescription antihistamines or oral corticosteroids may be prescribed. Identifying and avoiding triggers, such as certain foods, medications, or environmental factors, is crucial in preventing hives recurrence. In some cases, if an allergic trigger is identified, allergen immunotherapy may be considered to desensitize the immune system and reduce allergic reactions leading to hives. Newer treatments called biological are also often used when conventional antihistamines are not successful.