Common Causes of Hives That Will Surprise You - ER of Texas

Hives: The Common and Surprising Causes

Common Causes of Hives That Will Surprise You

Hives, which can also be called urticaria, are itchy rashes that develop on the skin. They can appear as red welts, large blotches of raised skin, or even as a widespread rash across a portion of the body. They are common and are not life-threatening. Here are some common surprising causes of Hives you may not know.

If you’re experiencing hives, you’re not alone either. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, roughly 20 percent of people are affected by hives at some point in their lives.

Because hives are a common symptom of an allergic reaction, most people usually see an allergist straight away. However, there are many other reasons you could have hives, and you should consider other causes if an allergy test comes up negative.

While millions of people break out in hives each year, the reasons for these breakouts are not always clear. Doctors have a general sense of what causes hives, but the details are sometimes shrouded in mystery.

Let’s explore some of the common and surprising causes and triggers of hives. Speak to your doctor about treatment if you suspect any of these factors might be causing your hives.

  • Colds and other viral infections: Sometimes, hives can be caused by your immune system fighting colds and other viral infections. These hives often appear near the end of your cold or virus as you’re starting to feel better. They’re most common in children but can happen to anyone.
  • Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections such as strep throat or urinary tract infections can also sometimes trigger hives as your body reacts to the bacteria. These hives will fade as the antibiotics help your body fight the infection. They might peel before healing completely.
  • Chronic conditions such as lupus: Hives that last for longer than six weeks might be a sign of an autoimmune condition such as lupus, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, or rheumatoid arthritis. These hives won’t go away on their own. It’s a good idea to make a medical appointment to get this type of hive checked out and see if a chronic condition is a cause.
  • Stress: Stress can raise your internal body temperature and release adrenalin and other chemicals that might trigger hives. Stress hives tend to be located on the face, neck, chest, and arms. They’re common in people with eczema, allergies, or sensitive skin.
  • Temperature changes: Suddenly encountering hot or cold, such as stepping into a steamy shower or entering a swimming pool, can cause histamine to release and hives to form. Hives that form in response to temperature are called cold urticaria. A red and itchy area of skin often forms around these hives.
  • Tight clothing: Tight clothing can cause friction that leads to irritation and to hives. Clothes that sit close to your skin can also push any bacteria on your skin surface into your pores and hair follicles.
  • Exercise: A chemical called acetylcholine is released in your body when you exercise can affect your skin cells and cause irritation and hives. Exercise hives are known as exercise-induced urticaria. Some people have additional symptoms along with hives such as shortness of breath, headache, flushing, and stomach cramps.
  • Inflammation of blood vessels: An inflammation of your blood vessels known as vasculitis can cause painful hives. They can leave a bruise on your skin and last for several days. Vasculitis is a serious medical condition that requires treatment by a medical professional.
  • Medications: Some medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and opioids, can cause an allergic reaction that leads to hives. Hives following medication might be the first sign of a medical emergency called anaphylaxis. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
  • When Hives an emergency?

    Hives can be a sign of a serious allergic reaction that needs emergency medical emergency attention. It’s important to take action if you hives along with any of these symptoms:

    • Wheezing
    • Tightness in your chest or throat
    • Trouble breathing
    • Trouble talking
    • Swelling in your throat, face, or tongue
    • Nausea
    • Lightheadedness

Please visit the closest emergency room if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

ER of Texas has top-rated freestanding emergency rooms in the DFW area, including Highland Village, Little Elm, Frisco, Hurst, Colleyville, Mansfield, Hillcrest, Sherman, and Uptown.

Our ERs and walk-in clinics are open 24/7, and our board-certified doctors treat all minor and major medical emergencies.