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Hives are a common condition in which itchy, red lumps and bumps (wheals) form on the skin. Hive are also called uticaria.
Hives are usually caused by a mild allergic reaction, but they can also be caused by a rare but severe allergic reaction called an anaphylactic reaction. Very rarely, hives can be caused by an autoimmune disorder called lupus. For more information on causes, refer to causes of hives.
Hives can appear anywhere on the body and can be round or oval in shape. Hives can also be irregularly shaped lumpy patches that join together to cover large areas of skin. Hives can be red or pink in color. They can also have a pale center with redness on the edges of the hives. The area of the body affected by hives is generally very itchy.
Symptoms that can accompany hives due to an allergic reaction include sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, and headache. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction) can result in swelling of the throat, mouth, and lips, and shortness of breath.
Symptoms that can accompany hives due to lupus include a butterfly shaped rash on the face, fever, seizures, anemia, photophobia, painful, swollen joints, hair loss, lesions in the mouth or nose, and inflammation of the lungs.
Making a diagnosis of hives and their underlying cause includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical and allergy history and physical examination.
If it is suspected that hives may be caused by an allergy, diagnostic testing may include skin patch testing. In a skin patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response. A blood test called a radioallergosorbent test (RAST) may also be done to help identify the substances that are causing certain allergies. For suspected food allergies, a patient may also be asked to keep a log to record the types of foods that trigger the appearance of hives.
If it is suspected that hives may be caused by lupus, diagnostic testing includes a performing a variety of blood tests in order to detect the presence of autoantibodies, which are found in the body with lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
It is very possible that a diagnosis of hives can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hives.
Patient compliance with a good treatment plan can control hives due to allergies to a degree that allows a person to live a normal active life. Treatment may include a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and other measures. Treatment of hives due to lupus also includes a variety of therapies. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hives....more »
A diagnosis of hives may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild in some people and/or may not occur very often. In addition, the appearance of the red, swollen hives on the skin can be similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as a keloid, flea bites, poison ivy, and contact dermatitis.
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Hives.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Review the causes of these more specific types of Hives:
Review causes of types of Hives in more specific categories:
The most effective treatment plan for hives uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific cause and severity of the hives, and the patient's age and medical history. In general, hives are treatable, although they are not curable.
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Hives may include:
Review further information on Hives Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Hives may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Hives:
Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Hives or relevant symptoms:
Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Hives. Some of these are listed below :
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Hives as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Hives as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Hives:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hives. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist here.
Read more about causes and Hives deaths.
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Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:
Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Hives as a symptom include:
Each year about 15% of all Americans experience hives on the skin or angioedema (swelling of the throat tissues) due to allergic reactions. Hives are an allergic reaction often due to food or plants. The reaction is characterized by a raised, itchy area of skin. It can be rounded or flat-topped, but it is always elevated above the surrounding skin. (Source: excerpt from Allergies: NWHIC)
Each year about 15% of all Americans experience hives on the skin or angioedema (swelling of the throat... (Source: excerpt from Allergies: NWHIC)
An itchy skin eruption characterized by weals with pale interiors and well-defined red margins; usually the result of an allergic response to insect bites or food or drugs.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
An itchy skin eruption characterized by weals with pale interiors and well-defined red margins; usually the result of an allergic response to insect bites or food or drugs
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
The list of organs typically affected by Hives may include, but is not limited to:
The list below shows some of the causes of Hives mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Hives. Of the 300 causes of Hives that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Hives' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hives or choose View All.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Hives based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Hives, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.
Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :
Subtypes of Hives:
Hive-like face swelling (17 causes)
Medical Conditions associated with Hives:
Symptoms related to Hives:
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Hives and many other medical conditions:
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