Hives: Common Symptoms and Treatment

Don't let hives hold you back.

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Hives, more formally known as Urticaria, is a common symptom of allergies that causes skin inflammation, red bumps, redness and itchiness. They can be relieved by removing the trigger or with antihistamine medications.

Throughout this page, you will find information about:

Hives condition
Hives triggers
Hives symptoms
Treatment options

Hives can happen anytime, anywhere!


Hives is a prevalent condition with over 25% of the Canadian population suffering from hives. Typically, hives appear in clusters around the body and are characterized by itchy skin, swelling, redness​, and raised bumps. While most hives episodes last a few days to a few weeks (Acute Urticaria) some individuals may experience symptoms for months or years (Chronic Urticaria). 

What triggers Hives?


Hives are triggered by the release of histamine, a chemical created in the body by the immune system when defending against a potential allergen. An allergic reaction occurs when an external irritant is exposed to the skin by contact or ingestion, causing Hives symptoms. 

What can cause hives?

   Foods

   Animals/Insects

   Medicine

   Infections

   Insect bites

   Pollen

   Pressure

   Cold

   Sunlight

   Exercise

   Stress

Symptoms of Hives


Hives are characterized by raised and itchy lumps on the skin. Skin may be swollen, appear discolored or red, and the lumps are usually shaped like wheels. They may be spread out in various areas of the skin or joined together as one larger rash. In minutes or hours, the raised lumps can constantly change shapes while disappearing and reappearing on different parts of the body. 

Treatment and Management Options


Hives are characterized by raised and itchy lumps on the skin. Skin may be swollen, appear discolored or red, and the lumps are usually shaped like wheels. They may be spread out in various areas of the skin or joined together as one larger rash. In minutes or hours, the raised lumps can constantly change shapes while disappearing and reappearing on different parts of the body. 

   Foods: Don’t eat foods that have been identified to cause your symptoms.

   Rubbing or scratching: Avoid harsh soaps. Frequent baths may reduce itching and scratching – beneficial because itching and scratching can make the hives feel worse.

   Constant pressure: Avoid tight clothing. Hives caused by pressure can be relieved by wearing loose-fitting clothes.

   Sun exposure: Wear protective clothing; apply sunblock.

   Medications: Notify your healthcare professional immediately.

If the trigger cannot be properly identified or eliminated, antihistamine medications can provide relief. Antihistamines block the action of histamine, therefore relieving hives. While these medications will reduce symptoms of both Chronic Urticaria and Acute Urticaria, there is no actual cure. 

Finally, if symptoms persist, contact your healthcare professional. 

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