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Readers Respond: Common Causes of Hives

Responses: 49


Updated June 15, 2009

From the article: Urticaria and Angioedema
I see alot of people in my clinic with hives. Nearly every one of them has some suspicion of what their cause. From foods to medicines, and toiletries to travel, most people with hives have some idea what is triggering their symptoms. Share your story about what you think caused your hives, and read about others' experiences.

Is it any wonder I itch...well, yeah.

Off and on over the years I've gotten hives, but never figured out the root cause. Hormones out of whack, shifting hives...pine and cypress pollen, itching morse code hives (dots and dashes appear randomly), acrylic nails? why not, I've only been wearing them off and on for 20 years, antibiotics trigger the ear and scalp itchies, bi-monthly sinus infection, ditto...stress level spikes - of course I get full body whelts from soles to fingertips and palms to scalp and ears. After battling ringworm from kitten for a month, I reacted again. Then I get tagged by bed bugs at a relatives house...omg eyelids and lips swollen and got a shot for that one. Immune system is whacked, hypothyroidism, vitamin D deficient, and had a round with heavy metal poisonings too. Is it any wonder I itch?
—Guest Deb

Hives--The enemy

Another Strange Cause-- Living in New England, it gets pretty cold. One remedy to that is a Hot Tub or Spa. Uh Oh..exposure to very warm water--102 degree and up for even a few minutes causes an outbreak of hives within hours lasting days. Moderate showers are fine but, no more getting warm.


I found that caffeine caused my hives; one cup of tea or coffee was enough to trigger it. That was 20 years ago; now I can have one cup a day, and not more, or the problem returns.
—Guest Sailor Bill

Chronic Hives

Seven years ago I started having sinus headaches. Without realizing it, my journey with allergies was starting. Five years ago I started having hives with mouth and tongue swelling on a weekly basis. Everyone in the emergency room knew my name. This continued for two years. I have seen three allergist, had allergy testing and still have no idea what I am allergic to. I cary benadryl and an epi pen with me at all times. The hives seem to have taken on a life of their own and dictate rules and regulations. I am afraid to travel on an overseas flight and if my husband travels, my mother stays here. I have tried all of the allergy medications but don't like the side effects. At this time I am taking an anti-depressant (doxepin) which has a high anti-histamine factor and has seemed to help. Over the last few months I have started having them again and feel very frustrated! What I would give to have my life back before I had to think about hives!

At 39 I have hives

My journey begins on 10/18/11 with a major virus losing 6lbs of body fluid in one day. The following week I was diagnose with a upper respiratory infection. I was given a steroid and antibiotics to treat the infection. On the last day of being on the antibiotic I caught strep throat which the doctor wouldn't. Because I had just finish an antibiotic. Well as a result of non treatment my mouth being to burn my taste buds became very sensitive my lips where burning and dry and on 11/1/11 my face around my mouth my back chest shoulders and are broke out in red bumps that itch like crazy and my skin is on fire!! Today I went back to my doctors office I was seen by a different doctor and tod that I have hives. That because I was sick so long and the sterp throat was not treated my body reacted. And this is the result hives. Now I have to spend more money on blood work next week!! So frustrated!!
—Guest Mia


have had allergy testing blook work and all come back good. Still have a very red neck and it burns
—Guest Susan

No idea wht's th cause

Ever since my childhood, i'v been em. My 4yr old daughter also suffers frm it
—Guest dadmayas

severe case of hives all over real bad

I just got out of the hospital from total knee replacement 12 days ago. sunday 9/18 I notice a hive then more, more and today my body is full blown cannot stop scratching. I was told I could be having a allergic reation to the antiobotics that was given to me in the hospital.
—Guest penny hill

Hives related to bad colds

Before retirement, I used to fly commecially, a lot, about 125 flights in 7 years. And usually after a flight I would come down with a cold or flu, 2 days to a week after said flight, and usually I would get these colds in roughly 7 out 10 flights. All of a suddenl, I started to get HIVES during these colds, and noted that each time I got HIVES, I was coughing up greenish or yellowish phlem. I was aged 58>64 at these times. I had never before in my life had HIVES, but now if and when I get a bad cold, and only when coughing up the green/yellow phlem do I get HIVES. I have reorted this problem to numerous doctors, speciallists and allergists, who simply shrug their shoulders, saying it is interesting, but really have no further interest in my problem. I will close for now, thank you for reading, and best regards to all, from Glendale, Arizona.
—Guest Joe in Glendale, Arizona

lightening creams

Having sun burns from staying out on the beach all day, I decided to try a lightening cream that claimed to contain no hydroquinone. Big mistake! After the third day of applying the cream to my face and neck, I developed a serious allergic reaction and broke out in hives. by the second day, the itching and the corresponding scratching was driving me nuts! I tried everything sensible to reduce the itch to no avail until I stumbled onto this site in my search for a cure. Now thanks to all your contributions, I seem to have some possible answers and tips to help me. Thanks again.

Hives Free Now

I had severe hives for many years even to the point of my throat and eyes swelling. I was also hospitalized many times. Off the wall things I never used to be allergic to were now throwing me into major allergic reaction. I finally figured out what was causing all of this it was my acrylic nails. I had them for many years prior with no problems which is why it didnt register with me when they asked about the. What we can figure is that they changed their formula and something in it raised my histamine levels so anything I took or was around that had an allergen it would send me sky high with a reaction. I used to take Zertec every day and now I dont have to take anything and no more episodes once I removed the acrylic nails. Keep in mind things you think might not be the culprit might actually be.
—Guest melbattersby

what caused my hives

it starts with the tingling, itching,then small raised red bumps that look like chicken pox,i then turn red, then i get the really big swollen red patches starting from my crotch area and my stomach,branching out to everywhere else.Mostly starts in the tender areas like the inside of my arms or the backs of my legs. Then the worst part is my lips begin to tingle and my face swells and turns hot and bright red mostly the middle of my face.I now carry chewable benedryl and regular benedryl everywhere I go. I got an epi pen last summer just incase,so I guess i'll have to start carrying that around again. I broke out the first time from a common landscaping plant called a caladium, which is a known irritant..shower/benedryl,fine. second time,overgrown pickled okra? yesterday i have no idea why it happened.i took a ibuprofen and had a fruity cocktail?I'm trying not to freak out.But could it be the anvil,aspirin,antibiotics that ive been on all week? I got really sick last week like strep.

Gillian Ingram

I have been diagnosed with chronic urticaria cause unknown. Has to do with my immune system going haywire. My allergist has put me on Fexofenadine (Allegra 180 mg once daily) Zyrtec twice a day, colchicine 0.6 mg twice daily and ranitidine 150 mg twice a day. Finally my condition is under control. Colchicine may seem an odd choice as it is used for gout mainly but in my case it is prescribed as "an off label" use and helps against inflammation (hives). Ranitidine is an antacid but is also helpful. You may think this is a lot of medication but believe me, I would be in trouble without. Hives everywhere and deep sore swellings on my chin and mouth. Horrible itchiness on my palms especially. Now I am comfortable and rarely have an outbreak. If I do it is very mild. Look into this regimen. Prednisone and the like help only briefly and can cause terrible side effects so please avoid at all costs! Good luck!
—Guest gillyflower

i got hives

Hi, Im 23 years of age, im not pregnant and not stressed out, but for the last two maybe three months i have been breaking out in hives. I thought it was from gain apple mngo tango but i switched and it's still going on. My hives are very severe and they are driving me crazy interfering with my everyday life. I get them on my arms, legs, hands, fingers, thighs, im talking every where and im popping benedryl like its going out of style. Thats the only way i can sleep w/o staying up stratching. I don't know whats causing it, first time in my life i have ever been allergic to anything. Plese people help me im so miserable. help help help
—Guest cash

Hives too

I have been suffering from Hives since I was 7 years old. Several doctors were unable to determine the trigger, but the one thing that seemed to be common was cold weather. This seems opposite of other people's triggers, but it seemed to prevent outbreaks if I kept warm. Hot water seemed to reduce the swelling/itching, until recently. When I was younger, the episodes were horrible. Hives all over my feet, hands, arms, legs, chest, and back. I had welts on my feet that prevented me from walking. Survived 23 years with smaller minor outbreaks, until this past weekend. Now it's back. My arms, legs, back, chest, hands, feet, waist, rear-end, and arms are covered and swollen. Benadryl is starting to loose it's effectiveness. I itch so bad I want to roll around in a bed of broken glass! I feel for all of you affected with this horrible condition.
—Guest Itchy

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