Learn Everything About Hives

Have you ever experienced those annoying red welts on the skin? Sometimes, they become pretty itchy or can cause burning sensations on your skin. However, even though these red bumps may have disappeared pretty quickly, have you ever felt the need to learn more about them?

If yes, read the following article to learn everything you need to know about hives!

What Are Hives Exactly?

Hives, also called urticarial, refer to those itchy red rashes that can be found on the skin and they may often burn or sting. It is noted that these swellings may appear on the skin as an indication of an allergic sensitivity to various factors such as foods, drugs, animal furs, fabrics or cosmetics.

However, hives can also occur as a reaction to emotional stress or as a response to an invading organism such as a parasite or bacteria.

Let us learn more about its causes!

Have you ever heard of histamine? It is a compound that is involved in various activities that occur within the human body such as the contraction of muscle tissues of the lungs and stomach. The development of hives occurs when the body releases histamine into the bloodstream or tissues as an allergic response, causing a widening of the capillaries and the escape of plasma through the capillary walls, producing the swellings on the skin surface.

The following list consists of some items which trigger this condition:

  • Food such as strawberries, peaches, nuts, chocolate, citrus fruits, eggs, shellfish, pork and some wheat products. One particular research indicated that many processed foods can be among the main causes of urticarial.
  • Some surface irritants like feathers, animal furs, woollens.
  • Cosmetics that contain chemical dyes
  • Some biting insects or invading disease-producing organisms
  • Some drugs can also lead to these skin conditions, such as drugs prescribed for hypertension or even aspirin.
  • Extreme temperatures. For instance, cold-induced urticarial is when exposure to extreme cold conditions can cause hives to appear on the skin surface. Cold urticaria is a common condition and can last for an average of five to six years.
  • Tight clothing
  • Exercise. Yes, you read well. It was first discovered in 1980 and this type of hives was called the exercise urticarial. For example, did you know that jogging is one of the primary causes of exercise urticarial?


Hives usually appear as red or white welts which can be accompanied by itching and burning. They can either disappear as suddenly as they came or last for few days.


Can this simple skin condition worsen and create a more alarming health issue? Unfortunately, yes!

The most severe complication is the development of giant hives which is known as angioneurotic edema and when this skin condition occurs in the air passages, breathing is totally obstructed by the internal swelling. These giant hives may even appear on the eyelids, lips or tongue.


Now, let’s talk about its treatment. Antihistaminic medicines treat simple hives and the application of calamine lotion or baking soda paste to relieve itching and burning. If the allergic response is acute, then an injection of Adrenalin or a corticosteroid may be required.

Moreover, suppose the breathing passages are completely obstructed. In that case, emergency treatment involves hospitalization so that tube can be inserted through an incision in the trachea below the obstruction to make respiration possible until the swelling subsides. This whole procedure is called a tracheostomy.


Hives can best be prevented by identifying the allergen and avoiding it. Positive identification may be simple. Suppose you know that you are allergic to one particular food or have been experiencing rashes while consuming this food, will you risk eating it again? The answer is obvious!

Similarly, people who know that they are allergic to particular medicines should always remember to inform nurses, dentists and doctors of their sensitivity. Anyone who has survived a severe allergic response to the sting of a bee, wasp or yellowjacket should always have a hypodermic kit and a supply of Adrenalin or a similar medication on him when there is any possibility of exposure to these insects.

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