Understanding Hives


Pat F. Bass III, MD, MS, MPH

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Hives on Neck

Hives is the name for an itchy rash on the body that may develop when you come into contact with or ingest something you are allergic to (e.g., a food or new medicine).

Hives most commonly appear suddenly without warning, but some people experience hives as a chronic recurring condition.

What causes hives?

When hives occur all over or on large areas of the body, that’s called a systemic reaction. In these cases, hives are usually caused by a food, medicine, viral infection, insect bite, or some other substance.

Anaphylaxis can be frightening, but being prepared will help you feel empowered to prevent a dangerous allergic reaction. Do you know all the facts?

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 6, 2015

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