Hives are medically known as uritcaria. Hives denote an area of itchy skin which has raised red or white swellings. These swellings may occur within a few minutes or days. Hives are known to occur because the blood vessels underneath the skin leak fluid into the area which then results in localized swellings. There are some chemicals in the body which can cause the blood vessels to become leaky and release fluid into the surrounding skin.
Why do hives occur?
There are many causes of hives. The most common causes include:
- Foods: sea foods such as fish, shellfish, oysters
- Milk products- eggs, milk
- Nuts, cashews
- Food additives: benzoates, MSG
- Drugs: salicylates, penicillin, aspirin, almost every antibiotics has the potential to cause hives
- Environmental pollutants: chemicals, smog, aerosols
- Pets: dog and cat hair
- Infections: parasitic worms
- Temperature: extremes of temperature
- Contact: poison ivy, jellyfish, chemicals, cosmetics, fragrances
- Hormones: premenstrual syndrome
- Genetic: familial conditions like cold uritcaria
- Insect bites and stings
- In some individuals, just simply stroking/scratching the skin with a finger will stimulate the development of hives. This is known as dermographism
What are Symptoms of Hives?
In most cases, individuals who have hives also have associated symptoms which include:
- stinging feeling
- skin rash
- size of hives may vary from 2-10 mm. Their color may range from white to red.