Urticaria (Hives) Urticaria, also known as “hives”, is an itchy outbreak of pale pink bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin that appear suddenly, either as an allergic reaction to food, medications, supplements, infections, or for some unknown reasons. Hives are very common, affecting up to 20% of the population at some point in their lives. In most cases people may know what caused the outbreak and once treated with antihistamines (and sometimes steroids for more severe cases) and avoidance of the triggering agent, the hives resolve without issues (unless re-exposed to the same agent). Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than 6 weeks) can be more difficult to treat and the cause becomes more difficult to identify. Sometimes these cases are due to an underlying autoimmune condition. Our highly trained Dermatologists recommend being seen when hives are persistent, unexplained and not adequately controlled with over-the-counter measures. Image Used with permission of DermNet NZ.