Hives or Urticaria is a skin condition which is characterized by red, raised, itchy welts or wheals. Hives can appear anywhere on the body and can be of any size. Hives usually occur in response to an allergy or an autoimmune disorder or viral infections.
Hives are usually harmless and remain from a few minutes to a few days. In cases, where hives persists for longer periods, medical attention is required.
Generally people recognize hives when there is a sudden outbreak of swelling of the skin that causes itchiness, burning, or stinging. Hives are pale red swellings that can appear anywhere on the body in blotches. It can be as small as a mustard seed and as large as a dinner plate.
These blotches of hives sometimes join together to form larger spots known as plaques. Whether large or small, hives generally fade within a few hours and can last for three days or longer.
In this article we will provide tips that will help you recognize hives. Below are some pointers that can help you recognize hives.
If you notice raised red welts of any size or shape anywhere in the body then it could be hives or urticaria. They look like insect bites, pale in the center and red around the edges and they appear in splotches.
These red raised bumps are very itchy and cause irritation to the person. You will be tempted to scratch it, but avoid scratching as it could lead to infection.
If you get skin rashes and swelling in reaction to food, medications, pet, change in temperature, insect bite or any infection then it could be hives. Especially of they come on rapidly, that is within 5-10 minutes of exposure to an irritant, then it could be hives.
Mostly hives do not last long and will disappear within minutes or hours. If it lasts for up to 6 weeks then you may be suffering from chronic hives. Chronic hives usually lasts longer than 6 weeks.
Sometimes, hives join together to form a large welt which is also called a plaque. This is also harmless and may fade out in few hours.
More Serious Cases Of Hives
Sometimes a person can mistake a skin condition called Angiodema for hives.
Angiodema has similar symptoms of hives but usually lasts longer than hives. Usually, with Angiodema, there is swelling around the eyes and lips. There can also be swelling inside the throat which could lead to blockage of the airway passage. Swelling can also occur on hands, feet and genitals.
Angiodema is not accompanied with itching but with a burning sensation. Symptoms disappear gradually on their own or with medications.
These are some of the symptoms that one needs to watch out for in order to recognize if he/she has hives. Hives are harmless but yet needs some preventive measures and care.