Hives typically present with clearly defined borders and may blanch (turn white) in the center when pressed. If a large area of the body breaks out in hives, they may join together to form “plaques.” The itchy bumps may come and go, even moving around to different body parts.
Hives can appear in the blink of an eye and then disappear within minutes to hours. In rare instances, they last for weeks or even months.
A vast array of triggers cause allergic reactions resulting in hives. These triggers include:
- Food (often but not limited to peanuts, other nuts, eggs, shellfish, eggs, milk, and fruit)
- Exposure to chemicals
- Insect stings or bites
- Pet dander
Some people develop non-allergenic hives due to stress, heat, exercise, exposure to sunlight, infections, or autoimmune disorders. Even with all of the known causes of hives, sometimes a specific cause or trigger cannot be pinpointed.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Many hives outbreaks resolve on their own and do not require medical evaluation. If they persist over time, seem unusual, are accompanied by facial or airway swelling (angioedema), or interfere with daily life, please schedule an appointment with Greater Austin Allergy so we can evaluate your individual situation and work with you to discover what may be triggering your hives.
We will discuss your medical history and determine allergens present where you live and work. Further diagnostic options include skin and blood tests, which can help identify the culprit, as well as rule out many common triggers.
Let our allergy specialists work with you to identify medication that can ease symptoms or even eliminate hives while we complete your testing. Once identified, avoidance of your personal trigger(s) can end your battle with hives.
Hives (Urticaria) Facts
If hives last more than 6 weeks, they are considered chronic.
Hives affect about 20% of people at some time during their lives.
Scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise, and emotional stress may worsen the itching associated with hives.