Hives are raised red bumps on the skin most often caused by an allergic reaction. Hives usually cause itching, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size (from the size of a pencil eraser to that of a dinner plate), and may join together to form larger areas known as plaques. Occasionally, hives can signal more serious problems, especially when accompanied by symptoms such as difficult breathing. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage of hives, what they look like, how to treat them, and much more.
Hives: What You Need to Know
Hives may be annoying or even life threatening. Learn about this allergic reaction.
Common Allergy Triggers
WebMD provides a comprehensive overview of common allergy triggers, including pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, insect stings, latex, foods, and drugs.
How Will My Doctor Diagnose My Allergies?
Your doctor will likely ask you a series of questions to help determine if your problem is allergy related. WebMD tells you what you can expect.
Allergic Reaction-Topic Overview
Allergies are an overreaction of the body's natural defense system that helps fight infections (immune system).
Slideshows & Images
Picture of Urticaria
Urticaria. Wheals with white-to-light-pink color centrally and peripheral erythema in a close-up view. These are the classic lesions of urticaria. It is characteristic that they are transient and highly pruritic.
Slideshow: Images of Childhood Skin Problems
Hives, ringworm, warts: just a few skin conditions often seen in babies and children. How can you recognize these common childhood conditions -- and is home treatment possible?
Slideshow: Itches, Rashes, Bumps and Other Adult Skin Problems
Is your skin itching, breaking out, covered in a rash, or playing host to spots of some sort? It may be the result of infection, a chronic skin condition, or contact with an allergen or irritant. Learn to spot skin problems commonly seen in adults.
Picture of Hives (urticaria)
Urticaria, also known as hives, is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin that appear suddenly -- either as a result of the body's adverse reaction to certain allergens, or for unknown reasons.