Hives are raised, red welts on the skin resulting from an itchy rash, usually triggered by an allergen.
Approximately 20% of us will experience hives at some in our lives. Knowing how to achieve relief from hives when they occur is key to comfort and reduced family stress and anxiety.
When we receive patients at our Florida dermatology clinics with hives, they invariably ask, “Are hives contagious?” We wish there were a simple answer. Actually, there is. Hives themselves are not contagious. This means if you come into contact with someone who has broken out with hives, you will not all of the sudden have hives too. The key here with the contagious question is what caused the hives. If it was simply an allergen or too much time in the sun, there is nothing contagious to spread. If the hives were caused by an infection or viral condition, the person with the hives may be contagious. Infections that may induce hives can be the following:
Hives Causes that are Contagious
- bacterial infection
- strep throat
- upper respiratory infections
Hives usually subside within 48 hours of an outbreak. An exception to this is for those with chronic hives. These 48 hours of having hives can be excruciating. We have provided some handy tips on how to get relief after a hives outbreak.
The following tips will help you reduce the irritation from hives:
Tips to improve comfort during hives outbreak
- Wearing light, loose-fitting clothing
- Avoid scratching
- Use mild soaps when bathing
- Cool the affected area with lotion, cold water, a fan, a cool compress, or a shower
- Take an oatmeal bath with tepid water.
- Avoid additional triggers
It is important to know when to see a doctor with any of these symptoms.
When to See a Physician for Hives
- wheezing (high pitched whistling sound when breathing)
- shortness of breath
- tightening of the throat
- difficulty swallowing
Suncoast Skin Solutions is Florida’s “Most Trusted” Dermatology. Each of our locations has a dermatologist on site to evaluate hives and offer treatment options.
Call us to help you locate an experienced dermatologist near your area of Florida.
*Thank you to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for the use of the hives photo.