Urticaria, commonly known as hives, is a skin condition characterized by raised, red, and itchy welts or bumps on the skin. Hives can appear suddenly and may be caused by various factors, including allergic reactions, infections, stress, or other triggers.
The redness and itchiness associated with hives are often due to the release of histamine in response to the triggering factor. Histamine causes blood vessels to dilate, leading to redness and increased blood flow to the affected area, and it also stimulates nerve endings, causing itching.
Hives can vary in size and shape and may appear and disappear within a few hours or persist for several days. They can occur as isolated welts or clusters and may migrate to different areas of the body. In some cases, chronic hives can persist for six weeks or longer.
Treatment for hives often involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause, if known. Antihistamines are commonly used to relieve the itching and redness associated with hives. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend corticosteroids or other medications to manage symptoms. If you experience hives that are severe, long-lasting, or accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly, as this could be a sign of a more serious allergic reaction.