Hives: Who gets and causes

Who gets hives?

Hives are common. Anyone can get them.

What causes hives?

An allergic reaction can trigger hives. Things that commonly trigger an allergic reaction include:

  • Foods: Fruits (especially citrus fruits), milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish.
  • Medicines.
  • Insect bites and stings.
  • Animals.
  • Pollen.
  • Touching something to which you are allergic, such as latex.
  • Allergy shots.

Other causes of hives are:

  • Infections, including colds and infections caused by some bacteria or fungi.
  • Some illnesses, including a type of vasculitis, lupus, and thyroid disease.
  • Exposure to sun (solar urticaria), heat, cold, or water.
  • Exercise.
  • Stress.
  • Pressure on the skin, such as from sitting too long.
  • Contact with chemicals.
  • Scratching the skin.

Hives can happen within minutes of exposure to the trigger. Or you can have a delayed reaction of more than two hours.

Learn more about hives:

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