Definition of Hives
Hives are raised, often itchy, red welts on the surface of the skin. They are usually an allergic reaction to food or medicine.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
When you have an allergic reaction to a substance, your body releases histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream. This causes itching, swelling, and other symptoms. Hives are a common reaction, especially in people with other allergies such as hay fever.
Signs and tests
Your doctor can tell if you have hives by looking at your skin.
Treatment may not be needed if the hives are mild. They may disappear on their own. To reduce itching and swelling:
Hives may be uncomfortable, but they generally are harmless and disappear on their own. In most cases, the exact cause of hives cannot be identified.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. – 4/15/2009