Raised, itchy welts on the skin that can be triggered by various factors, including allergies, stress, or infections.

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Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin condition characterized by raised, itchy welts on the skin’s surface. They can vary in size and shape and may appear suddenly. This article aims to provide factual information about hives, including its symptoms, causes, effects, associated dangers, available treatments, and whether it is treatable.


The hallmark symptom of hives is the sudden appearance of raised, red or pink welts on the skin. These welts are typically itchy and can range in size from small dots to large patches. They may also change shape and location over a short period of time. In some cases, hives may be accompanied by swelling, known as angioedema, particularly around the eyes, lips, hands, and feet.

Who Suffers from It?

Hives can affect individuals of all ages, races, and genders. It is estimated that up to 20% of people will experience hives at some point in their lives. While hives can occur in children and adults alike, they are more commonly observed in young adults.

Effects of Hives

While hives themselves are not typically a serious medical concern, they can cause significant discomfort and distress due to itching and, in some cases, pain. In chronic cases, hives can lead to disruptions in daily activities and a decreased quality of life.

Dangers Associated with Hives

In most cases, hives are not dangerous. However, if accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty breathing, facial swelling, or a rapid onset of hives after eating a particular food, it may indicate a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which requires immediate medical attention.

Is Hives Treatable?

Yes, hives are treatable. The first step is identifying and avoiding any known triggers. In cases where the cause is not apparent or the hives persist, medical treatment may be necessary. Common treatments include:

  1. Antihistamines: These medications help alleviate itching and reduce the appearance of hives.
  2. Corticosteroids: In severe cases or when hives are accompanied by swelling, a short course of oral corticosteroids may be prescribed.
  3. Avoidance Strategies: For cases triggered by known allergens, avoidance is crucial in preventing recurrent outbreaks.
  4. Cold Compresses: Applying a cold compress can help soothe itching and reduce inflammation.
  5. Stress Management: As stress can exacerbate hives, techniques such as meditation and deep breathing exercises may be beneficial.


Hives are a common skin condition characterized by itchy, raised welts on the skin’s surface. While they can be uncomfortable and distressing, they are generally not dangerous. Identifying triggers and seeking medical advice for persistent or severe cases is recommended. With proper management and treatment, individuals affected by hives can find relief and resume their normal activities.

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Dermatological conditions treated at Al Farid Hospital.