Hives Pictures

1
Hives on Neck

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Hives are the welts, or wheals, people get when they have urticaria. Urticaria is a common condition that occurs in up to 20% of the population at one time or another. It can affect any person of any race at any age in any season of the year, but it often shows up in the evening or in the morning just after waking. Itching is typically worse at night which interferes with sleeping.

In this photo gallery you will find various pictures of hives. I have tried to point out important characteristics in each photo.

Urticaria, or hives, is a common skin condition that can affect up to 20% of the population at one time or another. Most people know that hives are very itchy, and anyone who's had hives knows the itching usually gets worse at night. This picture shows what a typical case of hives looks like. I don't know about you, but I want to scratch just looking at it.

2
Hives Caused by Infection

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

The most common cause of hives is idiopathic, meaning it just happens. If a cause can be found, the most common cause is infection. This is an example of hives caused by a viral infection.

3
Hives on Abdomen

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Hives are diagnosed clinically based on their typical appearance. Most cases of hives resolve on their own so diagnosing hives doesn't usually require a lot of expensive blood or skin tests.

4
Acute Hives

Photo © A.D.A.M.

Hives are classified as acute or chronic depending on whether they've been present for less than or greater than six weeks. This is a picture of a case of acute hives. Chronic hives often don't look like hives. They tend to look more like red places someone has scratched.

5
Hives Are "Spongy"

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Hives are caused by fluid that leaks into the the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. Depending on the amount of fluid that gets released, hives can look very "spongy" like this. Compare this picture to the next one.

6
Hives on Abdomen

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Hives are caused by a complicated chain of events that result in the release of histamine into the surrounding tissue. Histamine causes the blood vessels to be leaky so fluid accumulates in the skin. Depending on the amount of fluid that leaks and the part of the skin it leaks into, hives can be thick and "spongy" like the previous picture. Or they can be relatively flat like these hives.

7
Hives Appearance

The Shape of Hives. Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

The shape of hives is described as polycircular. This means they are made up of many circles. Can you pick out the circles in this picture of hives. See the next picture for my results.

8
Hives Circles

Photo © Heather L. Brannon, MD

Here you can see the multiple circles that make up polycircular shape of a typical case of hives.

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