Hives and rashes can be triggered by a number of products, fabrics or foods.

What are hives and rashes?

Anything that irritates, clogs or inflames your skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning and itching. Allergies, irritants, your genetic makeup, and certain diseases and immune system problems can cause hives, rashes and other skin conditions, such as acne.

Hives, also called urticaria, are raised, red, warm and itchy bumps on your skin. An allergic reaction to a drug or food usually causes them. Allergic reactions cause your body to release chemicals that can make your skin swell up with hives.

Usually, hives last about 24 hours, often have no determined cause and may never happen again. However, a small number of people continue to have problems with hives every day. If hives have been occurring daily for six weeks or more, it’s called chronic idiopathic urticaria.

A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are itchy, red, painful and irritated. Some rashes can also lead to blisters or patches of raw skin.

What causes these skin conditions?

Medicines, foods, insect stings and skin contact reactions such as to latex are common causes of hives. There are also non-allergic causes of hives, like infections and stress. People who have other allergies are more likely to get hives than other people.

Rashes can be symptoms of many different medical problems. Common causes include irritating substances and allergies. Certain genes can make people more likely to get rashes.

What are the symptoms of hives and rashes?

Symptoms include redness, itching and, sometimes, small bumps. A rash will appear where you have touched an irritant, such as a chemical, or something you are allergic to, like poison ivy.

Some rashes develop right away. Others form over several days. Although most rashes clear up fairly quickly, others are long-lasting and need long-term treatment.

Hives are red, raised bumps on the skin. They can itch, burn and even hurt.

How does Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center diagnose hives and rashes?

Because rashes, hives and other skin conditions can be caused by many different things, it's important to figure out what condition you have before you treat it. If it’s a bad rash, if it doesn’t go away or if you have other symptoms, you should see an expert at Ohio State. We’ll diagnose your condition and explain your treatment options.

How does Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center treat these skin conditions?

Hives are very common. They usually go away on their own, but if you have a serious case, you might need medicine or a shot. In rare cases, hives can cause a dangerous swelling in your airways, making it hard to breathe, which is a true medical emergency requiring emergency care.

Treatment of rashes may include moisturizers, lotions, baths, cortisone creams that relieve swelling, and antihistamines, which relieve itching.

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