Urticaria – also known as hives, weals, welts or nettle rash – is a raised, itchy rash that appears on the skin


  • Itching
  • Swelling of the surface of the skin into red- or skin-colored welts (wheals)
  • Wheals may get bigger, spread, and join together to form larger areas of flat, raised skin


  • Allergic reaction to a substance
  • Substances that trigger hives, include:
  • Animal dander (especially cats)
  • Insect bites
  • Medicines
  • Pollen
  • Shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, and other foods
  • Hives may also develop as a result of:
  • Emotional stress
  • Extreme cold or sun exposure
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Illness, including lupus, other autoimmune diseases, and leukemia
  • Infections such as mononucleosis
  • Exercise
  • Exposure to water

Risk Factors

  • Female gender
  • Previous history of other allergic reactions
  • Family history of hives
  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Age between 30 and 60 years

Diagnostic Tests

  • Acute urticaria:
  • Physical examination
  • Chronic urticaria:
  • A blood test
  • A stool sample
  • ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test
  • Thyroid function test


  • Acute urticaria:
  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Chronic urticaria:
  • Antihistamines
  • Menthol cream
  • Corticosteroids
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Meditation or hypnosis
  • Diet
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists
  • Cyclosporine
  • Omaluzimab

Lifestyle Management

  • Avoid exposure to substances that give you allergic reactions
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothing
  • Do not take hot baths or showers just after having hives