What are the symptoms of hives?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of hives include red, swollen patches on the skin that often itch and may affect any part of the body, as confirmed by Drugs.com. Swollen areas normally take a round or oval shape.

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Full Answer

Hives vary in size and are normally pink or red in color, and they may be surrounded by red blotching, as stated by Drugs.com. Some of the patches may blend into each other, and they most often appear on the face, thighs, upper arms and trunk. Although hives generally disappear within eight to 12 hours, continued exposure to the allergen or irritant can cause new hives to develop every one to three days with some cases of chronic hives lasting more than six months.

If hives occur with other symptoms such as facial swelling, tongue swelling, chest tightness, dizziness, wheezing or difficulty breathing, they may be a sign of a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. Individuals with these symptoms should seek immediate medical care, and they should also contact a doctor right away if hives appear after receiving an insect sting or when beginning a new medication. To diagnose the underlying cause of the hives, the doctor may perform a physical examination, ask about exposure to allergens and irritants, and perform blood or skin tests.

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