Hives (Urticaria): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/30/2020

Hives is the term used to refer to a skin reaction characterized by the temporary appearance of itchy red welts on the skin. The medical term for hives is urticaria.

Signs and symptoms of hives include an itchy, red, raised rash that can go away and reappear at another location over a period of hours. The skin rash appears as welts or wheals. Hives typically do not last for a long period of time. There is intense itching, and there may be a pale center in the middle of a red wheal.

Causes of hives

Hives can be associated with allergies, although their cause in a given individual is often unknown. Hives outbreaks have been associated with stress, medication reactions, and environmental stimuli.

Other hives (urticaria) symptoms and signs

  • Intense Itching
  • Red, Raised Rash That Goes Away and Reappears Elsewhere on the Body
  • Red Wheal with a Pale Center in the Middle


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.