Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.


Hives: Introduction

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 »

Hives: Misdiagnosis

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.

Hives and the allergy or lupus that causes them can be ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Hives:

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 Causes of Hives: Causes | Assessment Questionnaire »

Causes of Types of Hives:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Hives:

Review causes of types of Hives in more specific categories:

Hives Treatments

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.

Treatment of hives that are caused by allergies begins with prevention. This includes diagnosing the specific ...Hives Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Hives may include:

Review further information on Hives Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Hives

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Hives may include:

Stories from Users for Hives

Real-life user stories relating to Hives:

Message Boards for Hives

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Hives or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Hives:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Hives. Some of these are listed below :

Hives: Animations

Medications or substances causing Hives:

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.

Drug interactions causing Hives:

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.

  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Adalat (Nifedipine) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Procardia (Nifedipine) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Calan (Verapamil) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Isoptin (Verapamil) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Verelan (Verapamil) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Cardizem (Diltiazem) interaction
  • Blocadren (Timolol) and Dilacor XR (Diltiazem) interaction
  • more interactions...»

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Hives

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Hives:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

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.

See Hives Assessment Questionnaire (13 listings)

Hives: Deaths

Read more about causes and Hives deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Hives

Poorly healing leg rashes a classic sign of chronic disease: Recurring leg rashes, or poorly healing leg rashes, are a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes, particularly of Type 2 diabetes, but also Type 1 diabetes. more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare in children, and not often seen more »

Hives: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Causes of Hives listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Hives as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Hives

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)

Definitions of Hives:

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)

Organs affected by Hives:

The list of organs typically affected by Hives may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Hives

The list below shows some of the causes of Hives mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Hives?

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:

  • 2 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 6 causes are "common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 2 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 293 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hives:

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.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Z





















Join in at the forums

Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.

See a list of all the medical forums

Causes of Hives Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Hives based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Hives?

    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 :

    What are the alternative names for Hives:

    Weal, Welt, Wheals, Urticaria, Angio-edema
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Hives:

    Subtypes of Hives:

    Hive-like face swelling (17 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Hives:

    Skin symptoms (5992 causes), Rash (1165 causes), Skin problems (3422 causes), Immune system symptoms (465 causes)

    Symptoms related to Hives:

    Skin rash (461 causes), Eczema (227 causes), Allergies, Anaphylactic shock (237 causes), Allergic reaction (49 causes), Angioneurotic oedema, Histamine, Immunoglobulins, Anti histamine, Adrenaline

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Hives

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Hives and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Hives:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


    By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

    Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise