How Do I Recognize Hives from an Allergic Reaction?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Developing hives from an allergic reaction can result in red, blotchy patches of spots all throughout the skin or only on specific parts such as the neck or hands. Recognizing hives from an allergic reaction can be very helpful in determining if an individual actually suffers from allergies, which is the first step in treating allergic reactions. Many allergic reactions can result in hives on the skin, which can vary in shape and often have the same color each time. Hives are often mistaken for a common rash, yet are distinctively different by their raised bumps.

If a rash with inflamed and reddened skin occurs directly after eating a certain food, it is most likely that an allergic reaction has taken place. This is the first step in identifying hives from an allergic reaction, as rashes tend to form hives moments after its onset in many people. Hives can occur on top of the skin and are the result of a number of immune system attack processes going on within the body, protecting itself from the allergic substance. These hives will often be small and occur in clumps, yet some hives can occur separately and become very big, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction.


When an individual consumes a certain food or product, or if he or she is exposed to a certain substance in the environment, a number of allergic reactions can occur. The most common allergic reaction that is quickly noticeable are hives, which are raised bumps on the skin that clump together and create itching and inflammation. Identifying hives from an allergic reaction to a food or substance is usually done by examining the skin and seeing if there are raised circular bumps forming on the top layer of the skin. These raised bumps are hives, and they become itchy and can sometimes swell to larger circular bumps.

The size of hives vary for each individual, and can be as small as a grain of rice or as big as a plate, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. Also, hives can be identified by their somewhat distinct color, as the middle portion of a hive is often pale, taking on a lighter color of an individual's skin tone. The perimeter of each hive on the skin becomes red, and redness will spread when the hives are scratched. It is best not to scratch though, as this can open the hive and create a wound, which can possibly lead to infection.


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Post 3

@fify-- I think the main difference between the two is the cause. If you eat something or get bitten by an insect and then see a rash, it's probably hives. And someone who has hives usually also has other symptoms. I'm allergic to strawberries and I also get swelling and itchy skin in addition to hives from it.

If the rash appears out of nowhere and doesn't go away, it's probably not an allergic reaction.

Post 2

@fify-- Hives is a rash caused by allergies. So all hives are allergic, but not all rashes are hives.

Many different skin conditions and viral and bacterial infections can cause a rash on the skin. These are not considered hives.

Both hives and rash are usually red, raised spots that itchy and hurt. But a rash usually has many, smaller spots in multiple parts of the skin. Hives can be localized to one area and show itself as large welts.

Post 1

I thought that all hives are from an allergic reaction. I don't understand the difference between regular hives and allergy caused hives. Don't they look the same?

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