Hives (Urticaria)

What are hives?

Hives are medically known as urticaria. It is a skin rash that is extremely itchy. When you look at your skin you have red welts on the surface. They can be found anywhere on your skin. Often you will see hives on your face, chest, back, legs and torso.

What causes hives?

Hives are caused by an allergic reaction in your system. Often they are caused by drugs or by exposure to foods. Some people develop hives from an insect bite. If you get stung from a bee, wasp or a mosquito and you are allergic you develop hives. You can also get hives from the elastic from tight clothing or even from excess sweating.

What are the categories of hives?

If hives last six weeks or less they are called acute urticaria. If they last six weeks or more they are called chronic urticaria.

What are the treatment options for hives?

They can be treated with an elimination diet eliminating the foods that may be triggering the hives.

What foods trigger hives?

  1. Nuts
  2. Berries
  3. Shellfish (Example: lobster, shrimp, crayfish and crab)
  4. Aspirin and other Pain Killers (Example: Codeine, Demerol, Advil, Nuprin, Anaprox and Motrin)
  5. Alcohol (Example: wine and beer)
  6. Food Preservatives and Additives (Example: Salicylates, Benzotes, Yeast and Azo Dyes)
  7. Eggs
  8. Chocolate
  9. Garlic
  10. Menthol (Example: cigarattes, mouthwash, and cough drops)
  11. Artificial Sweeteners (Example: Saccharin and Nutrasweet)
  12. Oranges
  13. Milk
  14. Carrots
  15. Apples
  16. Grapes

What are other treatment options?

They can also be treated with prescription topical medications as well as oral antihistamines. Of course if a drug is the culprit it needs to be stopped. Sometimes it is necessary to do a complete medical workup to determine whether you have a viral or fungal infection or even if you have a more serious medical condition like lupus, hepatitis B or even a leukemia or lymphoma.