Urticaria, also known as “hives”, are red, itchy, swollen areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body. It is a common condition that can affect any person of any race at any age in any season of the year. Hives are classified as acute or chronic depending on the length of the episode.
Most common are acute cases of hives, where the cause is identifiable - often a viral infection, drug, or specific food. These hives usually go away spontaneously. Sometimes, no cause can be detected.
Some people have chronic hives that occur almost daily for months to years. For these individuals, various circumstances or events, such as scratching, pressure or "nerves," may aggravate their hives.