Hives, also known as urticaria, are a type of skin rash that appears as raised, itchy, and often red welts on the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body, and may vary in size and shape. Hives typically occur when the body releases histamine in response to an allergen or irritant.
There are many possible triggers for hives, including certain foods, medications, insect bites, exposure to heat or cold, and viral infections. In some cases, hives may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an autoimmune disorder or thyroid disease.
Hives can be acute, meaning they last for less than six weeks, or chronic, meaning they last for more than six weeks. Acute hives are usually treated with antihistamines, which block the effects of histamine and help relieve symptoms. Chronic hives may require a more comprehensive treatment plan, which may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, or other medications.
In addition to medication, there are steps that can be taken to prevent hives or minimize their severity. This may involve identifying and avoiding triggers, maintaining a healthy diet, and keeping the skin moisturized. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as reducing stress or getting more sleep may also be helpful. It’s important to speak with a healthcare provider if hives persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, as they may be a sign of a more serious condition.