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Hives

What are Hives?

Hives are a sign that the whole body is experiencing a hypersensitivity reaction. About 20 percent of people will experience hives at some point in their lives.

What causes Hives?

Hives occur when the body's capillaries and tiny veins get leaky. Fluid escaping from some of these blood vessels becomes trapped in parts of the skin and lining membranes of the body, causing localized swelling.

Hives are often caused by an allergic reaction. The most common allergic triggers are:

  • drugs
  • antibiotics
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • nuts
  • peanuts
  • eggs
  • berries
  • infections
  • insect bites or stings
  • animal danders
  • pollens
  • molds
  • exposure to cold water or cold air
  • tightly fitting clothes or jewelry

Are Hives Contagious?

Hives are not contagious. However, the triggers of hives may be contagious.

What are the Symptoms of Hives?

The most common symptoms of hives are welts and itchy skin.

How long does Hives Last?

The welts caused by hives usually disappear within 48 hours.

Can Hives be Treated?

Yes. Common treatment options for hives are antihistamine and in severe cases, a shot of epinephrine.

Can Hives be Prevented?

Yes. The most effective way of preventing hives is to discover the trigger(s) and avoid them.

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