What are the conditions that cause hives?

Hives or urticaria is considered as a painful and oftentimes dangerous condition in the skin that causes the appearance of itchy, red-colored bumps. This skin condition is caused by various conditions including food and other allergies, stress, physical factors or as an indication of autoimmune disorders such as cancer, lupus or thyroid disorders. Based on the studies conducted, some people will develop hives at least once in their lifetime.

Food allergies

It is important to note that any type of food can trigger the development of hives while some can cause the condition more often such as chocolate, nuts, tomatoes, shellfish, eggs, berries and milk. Take note that fresh foods are likely to trigger the outbreak of hives at a higher rate than cooked or canned foods. Aside from fresh foods, various food additives including sulfites and salicylates are known to cause hives.

Other potential allergies


Any exposure to physical or environmental factors such as sunlight, exercise and extreme temperatures can trigger the manifestation of hives.

Individuals who are allergic to soap, lotions, pollen, bee stings, animals and certain medications can cause the development of hives. Those who take pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin as well as antibiotics such as penicillin can cause hives. In most cases, individuals can develop hives in a matter of hours after being exposed to the allergens. The hives that are triggered by allergens typically last between 30 minutes up to 36 hours and do not require a trip to the doctor. On the other hand, if the individual develops the skin condition due to an allergic reaction to a particular medication, it is important to seek medical assistance right away. If you want to learn how to manage hives, click here.


Stress can trigger the development of hives in the body. Once an individual is exposed to stress, whether short or extensive, the immune system will eventually break down. The moment the immune system is in a weakened state, it initiates the release of histamine into the body, perceiving stress as an allergen. Nevertheless, since the histamine could not actually eliminate stress, the body will develop hives. The reduction of the stress levels can help minimize the development of hives. Additionally, the individual can be given over-the-counter antihistamines as basic first aid to help reduce the temporary discomfort linked with the hives.

Physical factors

Any exposure to physical or environmental factors such as sunlight, exercise and extreme temperatures can trigger the manifestation of hives. Once the body is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it will only take a few minutes of exposure to direct sunlight for the hives to manifest. If the body is subjected to physical exercise, it can respond by releasing histamine which is a chemical produced by the immune system to defend the body. The hives can also develop once the individual sustains bumps or scratches which a condition is called as dermatographia. This condition can lead to the release of the histamine on the injured area, triggering the development of hives.

Underlying health conditions

The hives can also indicate an underlying serious health condition. The hives can occur as a response to the production of the body to antibodies which are produced in the body due to immune system disorders such as cancer, lupus and thyroid disorders. There might be an underlying health condition that can also affect the immune system, resulting to hives to form as a reaction to substances that have not caused irritation before.