A to Z: Urticaria (Hives)
May also be called: Hives
More to Know
The red welts of hives arise when mast cells in the bloodstream release the chemical histamine, which causes tiny blood vessels under the skin to leak. The hives can appear as small individual spots or large interconnected bumps.
Most often, hives are associated with an allergic reaction (to things like food, medications, pets, and insect bites), and can occur within minutes of exposure.
Keep in Mind
In many cases, mild hives won't require any treatment and will go away on their own. If itchiness is a problem, the doctor may recommend an antihistamine medication. If the trigger is identified, treatment includes avoiding it.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
- Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities
- First Aid: Allergic Reactions
- Hives (Urticaria)
- What Is Skin Testing for Allergies?
- Shellfish Allergy
- Food Allergies
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995- KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.