Akron Children's provides primary, critical and specialized care to the patients who come to us, as well as those our Home Care Group treats at home. We help families focus on their sick children with a support staff to deal with the practical details of a hospital stay. Beyond our walls, we help children reach their full potential with more than 100 advocacy, outreach and education programs. More...
From Beachwood to Dover, Norwalk to western Pennsylvania, and just about everywhere in between, Akron Children's growing healthcare system has a full range of pediatric specialists, primary care providers, hospitals and regional care centers right in your own community or within easy driving distance. More...
The Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute is the hub for research and innovation activity at Akron Children's Hospital. The institute facilitates sponsored clinical studies as well as internal investigator-initiated research programs across a spectrum of research subjects. The institute also offers research-oriented educational opportunities for fellows, students and faculty from around the globe.
Ranked a Best Children's Hospital, Akron Children's is the largest pediatric healthcare provider in northeast Ohio. Whether a child needs a few stitches or treatment for a serious illness, we offer the highest quality of care, using the latest techniques and technology, as well as a caring touch. Our philosophy of child- and family-centered care guides everything we do. More...
After eating some big, juicy strawberries, you decide to walk to your friend's house. Just as you're turning the corner, you notice reddish bumps and patches on your arms and chest. What are these itchy welts or blotches on your skin? Should you turn around and head home?
What Are Hives?
Hives are pink or red bumps or slightly raised patches of skin. Sometimes, they have a pale center. Hives usually itch, but they also can burn or sting.
Hives can occur anywhere on the body and vary in size and shape. They can be small like a mosquito bite or big like a dinner plate. Hives also might look like rings or groups of rings joined together. Hives can appear in clusters and might change locations in a matter of hours. A bunch of hives might be on a person's face, then those might go away. Later, more may appear on a person's arms.
Hives are common — between 10% and 25% of people get them at least once in their lives. They are usually harmless, though they occasionally can be a sign of a serious allergic reaction. (So, yes, you should go home and tell your mom or dad.)
The medical term for hives is urticaria (say: ur-tuh-kar-ee-uh). When a person is exposed to something that can trigger hives, certain cells in the body release histamine (say: his-tuh-meen) and other substances. This causes fluid to leak from the small blood vessels under the skin. When this fluid collects under the skin, it forms the blotches, which we call hives.
Why Do I Get Hives?
People can get hives for lots of different reasons. Often, the cause is not known.
Doctors usually can diagnose hives just by looking at you and hearing your story about what happened. The doctor can try to help figure out what might be causing your hives, although often the cause will remain a mystery. If you're getting hives a lot, or your reaction was serious, your doctor might send you to another doctor who specializes in allergies.
Sometimes, doctors will suggest you take a type of medication called an antihistamine to relieve the itchiness. In many cases, hives clear up on their own without any medication or doctor visits.
Less often, hives can be a sign of a more serious allergic reaction that can affect breathing and other body functions. In these cases, the person needs immediate medical care.
Some people who know they have serious allergies carry a special medicine to use in an emergency. This medicine, called epinephrine, is given by a shot. Ordinarily, a nurse gives you a shot, but because some allergic reactions can happen really fast, many adults and kids carry this emergency shot with them and know how to use it, just in case they ever need it in a hurry.
Can I Prevent Hives?
Yes and no. The answer is "yes" if you know what causes your hives — the strawberries at the start of this article, for example. If you know they cause you trouble, you can just avoid them. If you get hives when you're nervous, relaxation breathing exercises may help. But if you don't know why you get hives, it's tough to prevent them.
Some kids get hives when they have a virus, such as a bad cold or a stomach flu. Other than washing your hands regularly, there's not much you can do to avoid getting sick occasionally.
The good news is that hives usually aren't serious and you might even grow out of them. Who wouldn't want to give hives the heave-ho?
Ranked a Best Children's Hospital by US News & World Report, Akron Children's is the largest pediatric provider in northeast Ohio. With two pediatric hospitals, and 20 primary care and 67 pediatric specialty locations, we handle more than 600,000 patient visits a year. We also serve as a major teaching affiliate of Northeast Ohio Medical University, and offer a number of pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs. We are committed to providing quality, family-centered care, and improving the treatment of childhood illness and injury through research. More about Akron Children's...