Urticaria (hives) are localized, pale, itchy, pink wheals (swellings) that can burn or sting. They may occur singularly or in groups on any part of the skin; they are part of an allergic reaction and are very common. Approximately 10-20% of the population will have at least one episode in their lifetime. Most episodes of hives disappear quickly in a few days to a few weeks. Occasionally, a person will have them for many months or years. New hives may develop as old ones fade. Hives can vary in size from as small as a pencil eraser to as large as a dinner plate, and may join to form even larger swellings.
Acute Urticaria lasts less than six weeks. An underlying cause can be frequently identified and eliminated. The most common causes for acute Uritcaria are foods, drugs, or infections. Insect bites, internal diseases, pressure, cold, or sunlight also may be responsible.