Exit

Health Condition

Hives

About This Condition

Hives (urticaria) is an allergic reaction in the skin characterized by white or pink welts or large bumps surrounded by redness.

These welts are known as wheal and flare lesions and are caused primarily by the release of histamine (an allergy mediator) in the skin. About 50% of people with chronic hives develop angioedema—a deeper, more serious form of hives involving the tissue below the surface of the skin.

While the basic cause of hives involves the release of histamine from white blood cells, what actually triggers this release can be a variety of factors, such as physical contact or pressure, heat (prickly heat rash), cold, water, autoimmune reactions, infectious organisms (e.g., hepatitis B virus, Candida albicans, and streptococcal bacteria), and allergies or sensitivities to drugs (especially antibiotics and aspirin), foods, and food additives.

Symptoms

Symptoms include an itchy skin rash with red bumps that can appear on the face, trunk of the body, and, sometimes, on the scalp, hands, or feet. Individual lesions usually last less than 24 hours and can change shape, fade, and then rapidly reappear. People with hives may also have wheezing, or swelling of the eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat.

References

1. Guarneri F, Guarneri C, Cannavo SP. Oral iron therapy and chronic idiopathic urticaria: sideropenic urticaria? Dermatol Ther 2014;27:223–6.

2. Rawls WB, Ancona VC. Chronic urticaria associated with hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria. Rev Gastroenterol 1951;18:267-71.

3. Allison JR. The relation of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex deficiency in certain skin diseases. South Med J 1945;38:235-41.

4. Matsuo N, Yamada K, Shoji K, et al. Effect of tea polyphenols on histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells: the structure-inhibitory activity relationship. Allergy 1997;52:58-64.

5. Simon SW. Vitamin B12 therapy in allergy and chronic dermatoses. J Allergy 1951;22:183-5.

6. Simon SW, Edmonds P. Cyanocobalamin (B12): comparison of aqueous and repository preparations in urticaria; possible mode of action. J Am Geriatr Soc 1964;12:79-85.

7. Meyer de Schmid JJ, Zeller J. Urticaria due to vitamin B 12 allergy verified by the lymphoblastic transformation test. Bull Soc Fr Dermatol Syphiligr 1969;76:670-1 [in French].

8. Rawls WB, Ancona VC. Chronic urticaria associated with hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria. Rev Gastroenterol 1951;18:267-71.

9. Allison JR. The relation of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex deficiency in certain skin diseases. South Med J 1945;38:235-41.

10. Johnston S, Martin LJ, Cai X. Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil chemotaxis. J Am Coll Nutr 1992;11:172-6.

11. Green G, Koelsche G, Kierland R. Etiology and pathogenesis of chronic urticaria. Ann Allergy 1065;23:30-6. [review].

12. Shertzer CL, Lookingbill DP. Effects of relaxation therapy and hypnotizability in chronic urticaria. Arch Dermatol 1987;123:913-6.

13. Henz BM, Zuberbier T. Most chronic urticaria is food-dependent, not idiopathic. Exp Dermatol 1998;7:139-42. [review].

14. Winkelmann RK. Food sensitivity and urticaria or vasculitis. In: Brostoff J, Challacombe SJ (eds.) Food Allergy and Intolerance. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1987, 602-17. [review].

15. Wraith DG, Merrett J, Roth A, et al. Recognition of food allergic patients and their allergens by the RAST technique and clinical investigation. Clin Allergy 1975;9:25-36.

16. Lewis-Jones MS, Barnes RMR, Macfarlane AW, et al. Frequency and isotype distribution of serum antibodies reactive with dietary proteins in adults with chronic urticaria. Clin Exp Dermatol 1987;12:419-23.

17. Lessof MH. Reactions to food additives. Clin Exp Allergy 1995;25 Suppl 1:27-8. [review].

18. Juhlin L. Additives and chronic urticaria. Ann Allergy 1987;59:119-23. [review].

19. Kulczycki A Jr. Aspartame-induced urticaria. Ann Int Med 1986;104:207-8.

20. Zuberbier T, Chantraine-Hess S, Hartmann K, et al. Pseudoallergen-free diet in the treatment of chronic urticaria. ACTA Dermatologica Venerol (Stockh) 1995;75:484-7.

21. Verschave A, Stevens E, Degreef H. Pseudo-allergen free diet in chronic urticaria. Dermatologica 1983;167:256-9.

22. Gibson A, Clancy R. Management of chronic idiopathic urticaria by the identification and exclusion of dietary factors. Clin Allergy 1980;10:699-704.

Copyright © 2018 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.