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What are hives?

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Quick Answer

Hives, which is also known as urticaria, is a skin condition characterized by the appearance of swollen red wheals or bumps on the skin, according to WebMD. Hives appear suddenly and can be caused by allergens or appear for no apparent reason.

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Full Answer

Hives may appear anywhere on the body, including on the lips, tongue, ears, throat and face, notes WebMD. The wheals that are characteristic of hives can vary from the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil to the size of a dinner plate. Treatment of hives involves identifying and removing any trigger and alleviating symptoms by using antihistamines or corticosteroids. In severe cases, epinephrine injections may be necessary.

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