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What is Urticaria (Hives) Skin Disease? Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Dr. Sunaina Hameed, Dermatologist, Skin Health Bangalore, talks about the various triggers that can cause urticaria or hives.

Urticaria, commonly known as hives or nettle rash refers to white or red itchy rashes that appear on the skin surface. It can vary in size and can be seen for few minutes to hours or days at a stretch.

If the rashes continue for more than six weeks at a stretch, often disappearing and appearing, it is termed as chronic hives and may require additional treatment. 

“The cause of hives can be quite puzzling sometimes. It can be due to medications, water, heat, food, stress, clothing, infections, pets, plants, allergies, etc. Sometimes it can be triggered without a cause as well.”

Your doctor will usually prescribe antihistamine medication.


Eliminating the triggers such as the causative food, drink or certain drugs. Limiting spicy foods, being in excessive heat or cutting down alcohol consumption could help in controlling the condition.

Tips for self-management of hives:

  • Jot down all the possible triggers. Anything that you eat or drink should be noted. It would be helpful in eliminating the cause.
  • Always wear sunscreen while going out or exposing your skin to the sun.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton or comfortable clothes.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area.
  • Avoid using any body lotion, soaps or body wash. Do not scrub the skin.
  • You might find relief with cold compresses, bath, fan, or prescribed ointments or anti-itch creams.

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