Hives Chronic Urticaria

Authored by Dr Mary Harding, 30 Dec 2016

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Helen Huins, 30 Dec 2016

Urticaria (also known as nettle rash) is an itchy rash caused by tiny amounts of fluid that leak from blood vessels just under the skin surface. In chronic urticaria, it persists for more than six weeks, although often on and off.

If you have hives (urticaria), you have an itchy rash with raised areas called weals (or wheals), which are white or red. There may be blotchy areas. The rash tends to come and go and it may move around.

In some people with hives, more serious swelling can develop - for example, in the mouth, or tongue or face. This related condition is called angio-oedema, and is discussed in a separate leaflet. It can get in the way of breathing and can be a medical emergency.

Possible causes include:

  • Allergy.
  • Something touching the skin.
  • Heat or cold.
  • Exercise.
  • Sunlight.
  • An autoimmune reaction - the body over-reacting and causing damage to itself.
  • Stress.
  • Infections.

See separate leaflet called Hives (Inducible Urticaria). This gives you further information about the type of hives which is caused by a physical stimulus (such as touch, heat, cold, vibration, etc).

 

Further reading and references

Hi there, I am an expat living in Vietnam. Last month I broke out into an unknown rash on the right side of my torso (no where else), I went to the hospital and they put me on a drip and gave me...

jamespeter
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