Many people are concerned and anxious that when they or a member of their family develop an outbreak of hives they ask themselves “Is hives contagious?” The simple answer is no, hives is definitely not contagious. They think that as it is skin condition that it can be passed on through touch, or it may be an airborne virus.
Hives is an allergic reaction that people develop when an allergen is detected within the immune system. The allergen can be cause by a multitude of factors or what are more commonly referred to as “TRIGGERS”. When the allergen is detected, histamines are released into the blood stream to combat the allergen. As a result when the histamines reach the skin level an unsightly rash consisting of red, swollen bumps appear. This rash is what we refer to as Hives, which is also known as Urticaria.
Hives are red swollen bumps which are usually smooth to the touch; they can also be referred to as Welts. They can be incredibly itchy and can be accompanied with a stinging or burning sensation which is very similar to sunburn. These areas of skin can appear on any part of the body and they can develop in people of any age. It is common that two areas of affected skin can merge into each other to form large areas which are then referred to as plaques.
The triggers that can cause people to experience an outbreak of hives are unique to that particular person. Food allergies may cause hives in one person and physical exercise which then creates sweating can be a trigger for another person. It all depends on the chemical makeup of a person’s body and immune system on whether they are prone to a reaction.
Some common triggers include the following –
Food Allergies (nuts, eggs, milk, chocolate)
Hot and Cold temperatures
There are two classifications of Hives
1 – Acute Urticaria which lasts for less than 6 weeks.
2- Chronic Urticaria which lasts for more than 6 weeks.