Hives, also known as urticaria, are red welts in the skin that can occur anywhere on the body.

Hives usually cause itching, but burning or stinging may also occur. Hives can change in size rapidly, appear and disappear, and move to other parts of the body in a matter of hours.

The cause of hives can be foods, medications, infections, insect bites, latex (rubber), rarely internal diseases, or unknown. 70% of the time no cause can be found (idiopathic) for chronic hives (present for more than 6 weeks).

Treatment for hives includes antihistamines, oral steroids, and avoidance of the inciting agent if one can be found. Sometimes multiple different treatment approaches must be instituted to keep the hives at bay.