Also known as: urticaria.

What are hives?

These are itchy red bumps on the skin that look like mosquito bites. They come and go and do not leave any mark behind.

What causes hives?

For hives that last less than 6 weeks, infection (viral or bacterial) are the cause in more than 80% of the pediatric population.

Hives can also be caused by an allergic reaction. This will happen within minutes to 2 hours after exposure to the allergen. These can be from an allergy to food, medication, insect stings, or latex.

Some environmental allergies can cause hives, but these must come in direct physical contact with the skin. An example of this is if you have a dog allergy, you can develop hives where the dog licks you.

There are other causes of hives that last for more than 6 weeks, which a board certified allergist can discuss with you.

What are the symptoms of hives?

Hives are limited to the skin. They are itchy, red bumps and can occur anywhere on the skin.

What are hive care options?

Antihistamines and steroids can help to control hives symptoms. If you have other symptoms in addition to hives (wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and/or diarrhea), this indicates you are having an allergic reaction and you should seek emergency medical care immediately. 

Reviewed by: Amy S Feldman, MD

This page was last updated on: May 06, 2021 09:19 AM

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