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Hives: Signs and symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common signs (what you see) of hives are:

  • Slightly raised, pink or red swellings.

  • Welts that occur alone or in a group, or connect over a large area.

  • Skin swelling that subsides or goes away within 24 hours at one spot but may appear at another spot.

As for symptoms (what you feel), hives usually itch. They sometimes sting or hurt.

This patient with hives has widespread, raised welts.

A patient with hives has widespread, raised welts

Some people always get hives in the same spot or spots on their body. These people often have a trigger (what causes the hives). Every time they are exposed to that trigger, they get hives.

Your dermatologist may call this type of hives fixed, which means not moving. Fixed hives may happen when a person takes a certain medicine (fixed drug eruption) or gets too much sunlight (fixed solar urticaria).

This 4-year-old child developed hives after getting bit by mosquitoes.

A child develops hives after getting bit by moquitoes

Related AAD resources

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.