Hives On Skin – What Are the Causes?

Hives On Skin – What Are the Causes?

Finding random bug bites, swelling, and redness on the skin suddenly upon returning home or even when sitting in a room is in reality very normal. Most of us have likely especially had bug bites that appeared out of nowhere.

In fact, many of the skin problems can be considered not that serious or be called a day to day issue. This has happened recently due to a number of issues including changes in the environment or formulation of better medicine.

If you look around, it is very clear that there has been an increase in all the kinds of pollution like air, water, and land pollution which has made not only the skin issues but other health concerns more common than ever.

For example, health conditions related to lungs or breathing patterns are more common than they have ever been. Bronchitis used was never as prevalent as it has been since the 1980s. Now, it is one of the top ten diseases that people take medical help for.

Similarly, most of us have also had a lot of skin issues. If you have ever come home to red, itchy, and swollen bumps on your skin, you have also faced the problem of hives. They are not very pleasant to look at and can easily get you worried at first.

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Hives On Skin - What Are the Causes?

How Do You Get Hives?

It is normal for anyone to be startled by the appearance of hives on the skin. Usually, they cover a large part of the skin and are visible even to other people since they are raised and their red color makes them prominent.

Most of the time, you might not even notice when they start forming. This is why seeing them at a later stage when they have swollen a lot can be scary. It also means that you might even not be able to tell what caused them in the first place.

How does one get hives? A good number of people assume that hives are a sign of a skin infection and can be contagious. Hives can indicate an underlying condition but they do not occur because of some bacterial, viral or fungal skin infection.

Hives are formed on your skin due to the body’s response to something that is ingested or in the environment, not because you caught some skin-disease causing virus or bacteria from one of your friends or family member.

The causes of hives can be drug, stress, chemical, and food. The hives that appear due to infection are not because of infection in the skin but the ones related to other parts of the body. A thrush infection inside the body often leads to hives.

The most common causes of hives so far are taking too much stress and allergies to food or something in the environment. Hives can appear at any part of the body and at any age. Hives in children usually indicate that he or she has some food, seasonal, or chemical allergy.


Fortunately, hives are not really that long lasting and clear out within some days or even hours. They can even be avoided by diagnosing the actual cause behind them. Hives are harmless and normally do not cause any complicated situations.

However, hives can also be the sign of some serious allergy. People with allergies that are life-threatening might want to see the doctor if hives on the skin appear as they are the earliest signs of the dangerous potential effects of the allergic attack.

What Are Hives?

The appearance of hives and their effects can vary from person to person but in nearly all of the cases, they are uncomfortable and not very pleasant to look at. You would want to get rid of them as soon as you notice them.

Hives are red colored raised bumps that can happen in any area of the skin. They are considerably visible and even be extremely itchy. They may even make you unable to concentrate as the itching is usually accompanied by burning or stinging sensations.

The size of the bumps can also be different. Typically, they are small and interconnected leading to the creation of welts which might also merge together. In this situation, much larger and prominent plaques are formed.

These plaques can be as big as the size of common house plates and can cause social embarrassment especially when they appear while you are out in public and they happen to occur on an exposed part of the body.

Also known as urticaria, mild hives go away within a few hours or even minutes. Other hives might even last for the whole day or even weeks and months. Acute cases of hives have been seen to be last as long as six weeks.

There are also hives that can last much longer than that. Hives for six months and less are acute hives while the ones that take even more time are known as chronic hives.

Fortunately, chronic hives only appear in rare cases where the person gets exposed to a life-threatening allergen or any similar situation occurs. Most of the times, hives do not even last up to more than twenty-four hours and do not reach the acute stage.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hives?

Hives signs are hard to notice as they can happen randomly at the time you might be indulged in some activity. However, if you have some sort of allergy to anything, you might want to watch out for the following signs:

  • Sudden itching
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Skin-colored welts or wheals that have visible edges
  • Constant change in shape and size of the wheals
  • The change of color to white upon pressing the center of wheels also referred to as blanching
  • Mild burn and tingly sensations

Keep in mind that hives can happen anywhere on the body but the most common places for them to appear are thighs, upper arms, trunk, and face.

Hives On Skin - What Are the Causes?

What Causes Hives?

The most important question on getting hives is why they appeared in the first place. Diagnosing the underlying cause of hives might be important if you are not sure of any possible food or chemical allergy you might have.

Hives are the body’s reaction to exposure to any substance that can be in your food, skincare product, makeup, environment. They are, in reality, the effect of the chemicals released by the body to protect itself from the allergen.

If you have hives due to allergy, they appear within a small time of being exposed to the allergen. Some of the common allergies to watch out for that can be causing hives on your skin are:

  • Pollen
  • Pets and animals
  • Certain food allergies such as shellfish, milk, and nut allergies
  • Insect bites and bugs
  • Allergy shots
  • Certain plants such as poison ivy
  • Pollution in the environment

In addition, if you have recently started taking some medicine and started having hives on your skin, you might want to inform your doctor as you can be allergic to it. Medicinal allergies can bring about dangerous situations especially when you unknowingly continue to take them.


Where the biggest reason that causes hives in people is having an allergy, they can also be related to a number of other things including physical causes such as shifts in temperature, over-exposure to the sun, exercise, excessive sweating and even cold or hot showers.

The only risky reasons that can lead to hives are severe or life-threatening allergies or autoimmune diseases and leukemia. The appearance of hives can also be an early symptom of these conditions which is why it is important to get them checked if you get them very often.



Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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