Hives are also known medically as urticaria. Hives present as very itchy areas and may be inflamed. Hives can be chronic (greater than 6 weeks), or acute (less than 6 weeks) in nature. They are superficial and normally skin coloured with some redness around them and can last for a few minutes or up to a day. Anyone can experience hives in their lifetime.
Hives can be caused by allergens, vaccinations, bug bites or viral infections. There is no specific routine diagnostic testing to diagnose urticaria, but bloodwork that looks at inflammatory markers can be ordered or sometimes a skin biopsy can help. Treatments for hives and itching involve oral antihistamines (allergy medications) and topical creams. In most cases, hives will eventually disappear on their own, or with avoidance of triggers, ie. allergens.