Hives, also known as urticaria, are an itchy, swollen pale red form of skin rash. While they sometimes form as a result of an allergic reaction or a physical irritation, the causes of urticaria are not always clear. However, there may be some risk factors for developing hives, including:

Allergic Reaction

One of the most common risk factors for hives is an allergic reaction. An allergy to just about anything can cause urticaria, such as:

  • Food allergies, most commonly nuts, dairy, eggs, berries, chocolate and shellfish, but also to food additives
  • Allergies to cleaning products, such as soaps and shampoos
  • Allergies to medications and vitamins

Physical Irritation

Sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing and repeatedly rubbing items such as belts against your body can also cause hives. These physical urticaria often disappear after a few hours.

Stress

Sometimes being overly stressed can cause you to break out into urticaria, especially if you're prone to the condition.

Infections and Illnesses

Suffering from infections and illnesses can also make you break out into urticaria. Even just the common cold or an insect bite can cause your skin to overreact and inflame.

Youth

Another risk factor for developing hives is simply youth. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to suffer from physical urticaria, which can sometimes appear for no discernible reason. They tend to occur about fifteen minutes after exercise or when bathing and will dissipate within a few hours.

If you believe that you have hives, you should make an appointment with your physician or dermatologist to determine the cause of your urticaria outbreak. If the cause cannot be determined, you may have to accept that you can treat, but not necessarily prevent, the condition.