Different Types Of Hives

What Are The Different Types Of Hives?

It may surprise you to learn that there are many different types of hives. While most people have their lumps and bumps come up spontaneously without any clear triggers, others find that things they that  eat, drink or do can make them appear more often. For example, there is a group of conditions known as the “physical urticarias”. These types of hives come out with various physical stimuli to the skin. Symptoms occur alone or accompany spontaneous hives. While there is rarely an important underlying disease, exceptions occur. For example, solar urticaria has been associated with a rare condition called hypereosinophilia syndrome, and occasionally SLE/lupus.

Different Types of Hives

1.    Acute Urticaria
Acute hives can appear at any age, but they are most commonly seen in young adults. The rash on this types of hives has very itchy red areas with white raised central circles that resemble mosquito bites. If the welts grow very large, spreading and joining together or swelling downward deep into body tissue, then they are known as giant hives or angioedema. Angioedema is painful and unsightly, but it is not as itchy. With angioedema the eruptions become large enough to cause swelling of the eyelids, tongue, mouth, hands or feet. In severe cases, hives can be accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, difficulty swallowing, digestive upsets and fever. Hives can occur internally to produce swelling of internal organs. .

2.    Chronic Urticaria
When a person has had hives for over six weeks, they are termed chronic urticaria. Many experts believe that acute and chronic urticaria are no different except for duration. Some studies indicate that allergy is less likely to be an underlying factor in chronic urticaria. Since in 80 per cent of the cases of chronic urticaria the underlying cause is never found, not many conclusions can be made.

3.    Physical Urticaria
Typically, acute and chronic urticaria display round or oval hives, occur over virtually any part of the body and last for hours or days. There are others forms of urticaria on this types of hives which show up in lines or odd shapes, appear on specific parts of the body and appear then disappear within two hours. This is urticaria which is triggered by a physical cause. There are several possible causes:

Cold: Cold air, immersion in cold water, cooling of the skin while sweating (uncommon).

The major significance of this condition is the risk of severe allergic reaction with whole body cooling such as when swimming in cold water. There is a small risk of drowning if severe dizziness or blackouts occur when swimming alone.
Heat: Contact with hot objects or food (rare)
Aquagenic: Hives occur upon contact with water (rare)
Solar: Hives occur upon exposure to sunlight (rare)
Vibration: e.g. using lawnmower or power tools (rare)

It is important to distinguish between the different types of hives to know how to address them.