There are seemingly unlimited afflictions that can affect your skin. Hives are dozens of conditions that strike the skin's surface and cause varying degrees of itchiness, discomfort, redness, and swelling. Hives are typically caused by an allergic reaction and can be either chronic or acute, but the symptoms are similar for both conditions.

Hives are itchy, irritating, and sometimes painful welts or bumps that develop on the skin, seemingly at random. They’re typically red, vary in size, pattern, and severity, and resemble a rash. Hives are also known as urticaria and affect nearly 20% of the human population worldwide at some point in their lives.

While hives are widespread, the exact cause of them is unknown. It seems to come and go without warning or notice for some people. For others, however, definite triggers activate hives in your skin, which then go away. Some of the known triggers of hives include:

  • Foods that you’re allergic to
  • Certain medications
  • Insect bites or bee stings
  • Physical activity, sun exposure, or exposure to pollen
  • Latex and similar materials
  • Bacterial or viral infections and blood transfusions

Many hive outbreaks are linked to allergies and manifest when exposed to something you’re allergic to.

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