Urticaria: What is it? Symptoms and Treatment


The skin or red coloured bumps on your skin may not always be simple bug bites. Chances are they could be a skin condition known as urticaria or hives. 

What Exactly is Urticaria? 

These are red, itchy and raised skin rash that usually causes itching and is not contagious. In most cases, it occurs as a response to an allergic reaction. Though, sometimes the reason can be unknown as well.

How Does It Happen?

When there’s an allergic reaction in your body, it releases a protein known as histamine. As histamine releases, it causes your capillaries to leak fluid, leading to red itchy rashes on your skin. Urticaria or hives can appear anywhere on your body, including the tongue, ears, and lips. These allergies may happen due to sunlight exposure, infections, dust, pollen, foods, insect stings, metals, and even medication. Mostly, people never get to find the exact cause. 

What are the Different Types of Urticaria? 

Acute Urticaria

It lasts for less than six weeks. Usually, it occurs due to infections, foods and medications. However, diseases and insect bites can cause it. Some of the common foods that can lead to this condition are eggs, nuts, fish, tomatoes and chocolates.

Chronic Urticaria 

In comparison to acute urticaria, it is way harder to identify the cause of chronic urticaria. However, some of the potential reasons can be hepatitis, thyroid disease, infection. It can affect organs like muscles, gastrointestinal tract and lungs. Some of the symptoms include vomiting, muscle soreness, shortness of breath and diarrhoea. 

Physical Urticaria

It occurs primarily due to factors that stimulate the skin like sweating, pressure, heat and cold. 


It is a form of urticaria that happens due to scratching or firmly stroking the skin. It can appear along with other kinds of urticaria. 


As there are no particular tests for urticaria, your doctor will have to depend on your medical history, thorough examination and a series of questions for your diagnosis. They may also perform skin tests to check for allergies or conduct a blood test to determine if you have an illness. 

Treatment For Urticaria

The ideal treatment for urticaria is to get rid of the trigger, but it’s easier said than done. Doctors generally prescribe antihistamines to provide relief from the symptoms. For those with chronic hives, your doctor may suggest antihistamines or a combination of various medicines. 

How Can You Manage Urticaria?

If you are suffering from urticaria and swelling, you can follow the tips below to manage the condition.

  • You can apply wet cloths or cool compresses to the affected areas.
  • Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothes. 
  • Opt for a room that’s cool to work and sleep.

Summing Up

Urticaria may disappear in a few hours or can keep reappearing. It is essential to find out the root cause as it can help avoid hives. Discuss with your doctor the best treatment options for your condition. If you feel tightness in your chest, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and swelling in your lips, tongue, or face, seek medical help immediately.  



1. Can Urticaria be cured permanently?

It depends on the cause and condition. The best would be to speak to a doctor who can share accurate information regarding the cure.

2. Is Urticaria dangerous?

Generally, it is harmless but, at times, can indicate something serious. Therefore, get it examined by your doctor if you notice any such development. 

3. Is Urticaria contagious?

No, it isn’t contagious. 

4. Can hives go away on their own?

Some of them may go away on their own in a matter of hours or a few days. However, that’s not the case with all forms of hives. 



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.