Hives (urticaria) is a skin condition that presents itchy, red, swollen areas that can suddenly appear anywhere on the body. Often, they are the result of an allergic reaction. Some patients suffer from a chronic version of urticaria that occurs almost daily for months or years.
Oral antihistamines are the most common first line of treatment, but in severe cases steroids may be required.
Hives may be triggered by allergic reactions to medications, foods or other substances, or by viral infections, water, sun, physical exercise or temperature extremes.
For more information, see our skin allergies page.