What Causes Hives

Why am I getting hives all of a sudden? Hives, also known as urticaria, are itchy and raised patches that appear on the skin when the body releases histamine. Hives can be caused by many factors, including allergies, infections, stress, anxiety, extreme temperatures, insect bites, and certain medications. Hive rashes will usually get better within a short period, anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Let’s go deeper into what can cause hives.

Potential Causes of Hives

What Causes Hives

1. Allergies

Allergic reactions are one of the most common causes of hives. Common food allergens that can trigger hives include nuts, tomatoes, soybeans, chocolate, shellfish, eggs, fresh berries, citrus fruits, fish, and milk. In addition to food allergies, environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, or pet dander can also trigger hives.

2. Viral infections

Viral infections are another potential cause of hives. While viral infections like colds and flu can cause hives in some people. Other viruses such as COVID-19, norovirus, urinary tract infection, hepatitis, or strep throat may also be responsible for an outbreak of hives. According to practitioners, more than 80% of acute hives cases in children are caused by viral infections.

3. Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also lead to an outbreak of hives. Stressful situations such as a painful break-up, exams, divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or difficult emotions can trigger an immune response which leads to the release of histamine into the bloodstream and causes hives to appear on the skin.

4. Extreme temperatures

Exposure to extreme temperatures is another potential trigger for hives. Hot or cold weather for too long can cause the body to overreact and release histamine, resulting in an outbreak of hives.

5. Insect bites

Bites from mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas, or other insects can also cause hives in some people. But here’s the interesting thing. The bite itself is not the only cause of hives. The body’s reaction to the bite, such as an allergic reaction, is also a factor that can trigger an outbreak of hives.

6. Medications

Certain medications can be responsible for an outbreak of hives in some people. Aspirin, antibiotics, penicillin, and other drugs can cause a histamine reaction, resulting in hives. It is important to always discuss potential side effects with your doctor before taking any medication.


A doctor might prescribe an antihistamine, steroid cream, or menthol cream. In more severe cases of hives, they may prescribe oral steroids.

When to see a doctor

It is important to seek medical advice if the hives persist for more than a few days, is accompanied by a fever or other symptoms, or if you suspect an underlying cause. A doctor can help identify the cause of your hives and provide relief from itching and discomfort.

Further Reading: Hives Symptoms: How to Tell if You Have Hives

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