Hives

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Overview

If you’ve had red or skin-colored bumps that appeared and disappeared quickly, then it’s unlikely to be simple bug bites. The skin rash could be hives, and the itching from hives may range from mild to severe. Hives, also known as urticaria, affects about 20 percent of people at some time during their lives. Scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise and emotional stress may worsen the itching.

Symptoms

Batches of welts (wheals) that can arise anywhere on the body.

Welts that might be red, purple or skin-colored, depending on your skin color.

Welts that vary in size, change shape, and appear and fade repeatedly.

Itchiness (pruritus), which can be intense.

Causes

A food.

Bug bite or sting.

Latex.

Medication.

Pet dander.

Plant.

Pollen.

Risk factors

Food allergies or reactions, most commonly: Milk. Eggs. Nuts. ...

Medicines.

Insect bites or stings.

Latex.

Pressure, cold, heat, or sun.

Stress.

Certain health problems, such as: Viral infections, such as HIV infection, hepatitis, and cytomegalovirus. Immune system problems.

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Complications

Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening, whole-body allergic reaction that causes breathing difficulty)

Swelling in the throat can lead to life-threatening airway blockage.

Prevention

Allergy tests can help your healthcare provider figure out which substances bring on hives and swelling. Once you know your triggers, you can avoid them. You may want to:


Cut certain foods or liquids out of your diet.

Reduce exposure to airborne allergens.

Switch to detergents and soaps without scents or dyes.

Avoid extreme changes in temperature.

Relax and take a break when you’re stressed or overworked.

Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.