What Are Hives and What Causes Them?

Hives are a very painful and often complex condition whose cause is often unknown. Many people who suffer from hives never find out what causes their allergic reactions.


Hives are caused by some sort of allergic reaction, be it to food, chemicals, plants or other allergen. There are also varieties of hives that are caused by an allergic reaction to extreme temperature, pressure on the skin or stress. The body reacts to these allergens and stimuli by increasing production of histamine, a chemical that is present in our bodies to help us fight allergens and other toxins. The histamine is released and sent through the bloodstream to the affected area, where it also increases dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood flow close to the surface of the skin. This increased blood flow is what creates the redness apparent in a hives outbreak.

Increased blood flow and histamine can also create swelling in the area of the hives.
This can take the form of swollen fingers and toes, or raised welts on the skin. These swollen areas can also spread quite rapidly, as do the red patches.

Different Types of Hives

There are chronic hives and acute hives, also known as urticaria.  Acute hives come on suddenly and without a prior history, and attacks stop within six weeks. Chronic hives have been present in the past, last more than six weeks and, very often, have no known cause. Many people who suffer from chronic hives resign themselves to daily medication after allergy tests yield no known cause for their hives.

Many doctors prescribe anti-histamine, histamine blockers and oral steroids to prevent and treat attacks of hives. There are also several home and natural remedies that have successfully lessened symptoms in some people.

Natural Topical Treatments

Many people report a lessening of redness, itching and swelling from a topical application of aloe vera. Pure aloe vera gel is best, rather than a blended mixture.

An application of a cool compress or the taking of a cool bath can provide temporary relief from heat and itching. Hot water will aggravate symptoms.

A bag of chamomile tea, moistened well, can be applied to small affected areas.

Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.
This entry was posted in Q&A