Hives, or urticaria, is a type of rash exhibiting raised pale bumps that vary in size and shape. It presents areas of redness that often cause extreme itching. These are often manifested from an allergy to a food or medication and sometimes to a viral infection or stress, but also may be due to an unknown cause as frequently as 40 percent of the time. If the hives are of a chronic nature, they can last for months to even years.
Hives are quite common and usually curing the symptoms will be effective, however, more severe cases may need the attention of a medical practitioner. If the hives are due to an allergic reaction and there are difficulties with breathing or an airway is obstructed from swelling, emergency medical attention needs to be sought after immediately.
For people with the tendency to get these welts, it is important to try to note what may trigger the episodes. Medical studies show that especially for children with recurrent outbreaks of hives, food additives and aspartame may contribute directly to the outbreak. Therefore, staying away from these substances if there are continuous episodes of hives is normally recommended. Laundry detergent is often a culprit for many individuals with sensitive skin and may require re-rinsing of the clothes with vinegar or ammonia. If the hives are caused by stress, then relaxation methods or meditation could be of benefit, as well as finding the root cause of the stress.
Cold or hot water will often trigger hives in young children, and using water that is luke warm may help the situation. Sunlight may also often bring on hives as will often certain foods such as chocolate, eggs, milk, berries, tomatoes, nuts and shellfish. Therefore, staying away from these foods may help. Many people will get hives from cosmetics and soaps or may develop from fragrances.