My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.

Close

Posted: | Report This Report Question |
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

8,020 Answers
282,956 Helpful Votes
334 Followers
A.

Hives, or urticaria, are a common allergic reaction in which a rash or welts appear on the skin. Hives are typically quite itchy and can last just a few minutes or several days before going away. Occasionally, however, these annoying blotches can indicate more serious problems, especially when accompanied by symptoms such as difficult breathing.

In angioedema, swelling develops beneath the skin and in serious cases can cause disabling swelling of internal organs, life-threatening blockage of air passages, or severe, uncontrollable intestinal contractions. In rare cases the swelling occurs in the throat and causes suffocation. Angioedema sometimes occurs with hives, but is not itchy or red.

Chronic cases of angioedema that do not occur with hives may be the result of a condition called hereditary angioedema.

Simultaneously developing hives along with complicating symptoms such as fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, shortness of breath, and a drop in blood pressure after a bee sting, insect bite, or drug injection strongly suggests anaphylaxis. This severe shock to the immune system requires prompt medical attention. In rare cases, failure to get help quickly can be fatal. 


This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

Posted:
| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?

YesNo

Thanks for your feedback.

1404 of 1753 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: Understanding Hives -- the Basics