All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > A to Z > U > A to Z: Urticaria (Hives)
A to Z: Urticaria (Hives)

A to Z: Urticaria (Hives)

May also be called: Hives

Urticaria — commonly called hives — are red raised bumps or welts on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body, usually as a reaction to an allergen (something that causes an allergic reaction).

More to Know

The red welts of hives arise when mast cells in the bloodstream release the chemical histamine, which causes tiny blood vessels under the skin to leak. The hives can appear as small individual spots or large interconnected bumps.

Most often, hives are associated with an allergic reaction (to things like food, medications, pets, and insect bites), and can occur within minutes of exposure.

Keep in Mind

In many cases, mild hives won't require any treatment and will go away on their own. If itchiness is a problem, the doctor may recommend an antihistamine medication. If the trigger is identified, treatment includes avoiding it.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Articles
T    Allergies
P    First Aid: Allergic Reactions
P    Food Allergies
K    Food Allergies
T    Food Allergies
P    Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities
T    Food Allergies: How to Cope
K    Help With Hives
P    Hives (Urticaria)
T    Hives (Urticaria)
K    Learning About Allergies
P    Shellfish Allergy
P    What Is Skin Testing for Allergies?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2015 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved