The Difference Between Urticaria and Angioedema

What’s the Difference Between Urticaria Hives and Angiodema?

Urticaria is the medical name for hives.  With urticaria, a person will have a mild or severe outbreak of swollen pale red welts or bumps or patches on their skin which occur suddenly and quickly.   For some people hives may sting or burn but they normally cause itching.  Urticaria can appear anywhere on the human body and they can range from the size of a pea to the size of a plate.  Hives may also join together to form what is referred to as plaques.  Hives can last anywhere from a couple hours to a few days.

Here’s a picture of Urticaria Hives

urticaria hives picture

Angiodema is very similar to urticaria hives but the big difference between the two conditions is that Angiodema swelling occurs below the surface of the skin.  With Angiodema there is often deep swelling around the eyes as well as the lips.  In some cases the genitals, feet and hands can be swollen as well.  In extreme cases of Angiodema disfigurement can occur due to prolonged tissue swelling.  If Angiodema occurs in the tongue, throat or lungs it can be life threatening because breathing passages can become blocked.

Here’s a picture of someone with Angiodema.

angiodema picture

Notice how bad the tongue is swollen.  That is very dangerous because it could block the passage of air to and from the lungs.

Hives Everywhere

My wife has been suffering from hives breakouts for the past few months.  She has gone to the doctor three different times and recently scheduled a fourth visit.  Every day she wakes up with hives in different places.  She’s had them on her head, her arms, her neck, her back, her stomach, her legs, and most everywhere else on her body.

The doctor told her the hives were probably caused by stress and gave her some medication, but it is obviously not working.  One day she had hives all in the area of the shoulder strap of her purse.  My relatives told us they used to break out in hives if they used Tide laundry detergent.  My niece said when she stopped using Tide she stopped getting hives.  So we tried switching, but that didn’t work either.  This has been going on for far too long now and we are starting to get worried that they will never completely stop.  There hasn’t been a single day when she didn’t get hives somewhere.  Usually they are prominent around her underwear line and areas where her clothes are tight (that’s why we thought being allergic to Tide made sense) but she also breaks out in hives in places like the top of her head where clothes never tough.  So we are definitely at a loss here.  If anyone has some good advice how to stop the hives please let us know.  I will keep you updated on the situation.

Hives and Antihistamines

As we mentioned in previous posts, hives, also known as urticaria and angioedema, usually go away on their own.  However, antihistimines can be used to ease the swelling of hives and prevent further breakouts of hives.  Why do antihistimines work? First, let’s define how antihistamines work and then let’s look at it in a simple example.  In fact, let’s use a full out example of how to retrace your steps, find the cause, and then find the cure for your hives breakout.

First, let’s learn about antihistamines… When your body senses a threat your immune system sends off signals.  These signals trigger chemical reactions that involve hormones and antibodies.  When it’s all said and done, your body releases a chemical called histamine from your cells.  The histamine causes the reactions to the allergies such as swelling of the skin and the itching sensation you feel.  Contrary to what some people will have you believe, antihistamines don’t actually block the histamine itself.  Instead, the antihistamines block the histamine receptors so you won’t have the symptoms anymore.

antihistamines for hives

The truth is that sometimes antihistamines work with hives and sometimes they don’t.  For some people they will work for a while and then suddenly stop.  Doctors and physicians often prescribe steroids to treat hives when antihistamine treatments fail to get rid of the hives.  Now let’s move on to a good example…

Let’s say you break out in hives after a big meal.  You should look back at each thing you ate.  You can then start eliminating food items that have never caused you problems before… so you had a cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry shortcake for dessert.  You’ve eaten cheeseburgers and fries hundreds of times with no problems so you can eliminate them.  But it’s been quite a while since you had strawberry shortcake.  AHA!  Strawberries contain a chemical that can cause body cells to release histamine.  That histamine that gets released can cause an allergic reaction that leads to the forming of hives.  To counter the histamine you naturally need an antihistamine.

So to cure the hives you take an antihistamine.  To keep from irrating the skin welts avoid hot water, cold temperatures, exposure to too much sunlight, and tight clothes.  Your hives should disappear in no time!  For more hives information read the previous posts.

Pictures of Hives on Babies

Many parents freak out if their baby breaks out in hives.  While it is very important to be diligent to figure out what’s wrong with your child’s skin, it’s also important to not panic.  If it turns out to be hives, it’s probably just an allergic reaction and they will probably go away soon.  Hives on babies and infants can last a few hours, a few days, or even a few months in some cases.  It’s also not uncommon for hives welts to disappear and then show up on different parts of the body.  The most important thing is to try and figure out what the allergic reaction was to. That way you can avoid similar breakouts in the future.

Here are some pictures of babies with hives.

baby hives breakout
This baby has hives all over his body including on his arms, legs, chest and face.

baby with hives on back
This little baby broke out in hives all over his back.

baby with facial hives
This newborn has hives on his cheeks and other parts of his face.

baby with hives
This infant broke out in hives on his thighs, chest, stomach, and arms.

As I mentioned, the important thing is not to panic and to try to conclude what causes the allergic reaction in the first place.  When dealing with babies it could be what they ate, what they drank, medicine they took, too much sunlight, an infection, or an insect bite or sting.  Always consult your doctor with any questions about your baby’s well being.  Your doctor is more qualified to access what they baby actually has and whether or not it is hives.

What Are Hives?

What Are Hives?

Now that we’ve shown you multiple pictures of hives all over the human body, let’s define exactly what hives are.  Hives are almost always an allergic reaction.  Usually, the allergic reaction is a reaction to either food that has been consumed, a drink that has been drank, or a medicine that has been taken.  When someone breaks out in hives they typically get red welts (or welps, however you want to say it) on their bodies and they can occur most anywhere on the body.  The surface of the skin gets red and itchy.  The skin is elevated above the normal skin where the hives are present.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about hives.  I hope you find this information valuable.

What Causes Hives?

As I mentioned, hives can be caused by food, drink, or medicine.  But other things can cause hives as well, including pollen, cat dander, other animal dander, and insect bites.

What Foods Trigger Hives

Many different foods can trigger hives in different people.  Foods that most often trigger hives are nuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish.

What Else Can Cause a Person to Break Out in Hives?

Infections can cause hives, certain illnesses can cause hives, such as lupus and leukemia to name a couple, excessive sweating can cause hives, too much sun exposure can cause hives, too much stress or emotional issues can trigger them, and so can extreme cold.

What are the Symptoms of Hives?

Symptoms associated with hives are “wheals” which is the term used for the red welts which typically have well defined edges to them, swelling of the skin’s surface, and itching.

What are the Treatments for Hives?

Antihistamines are usually used to treat hives breakouts.  Some people take loratadine or cetirizine to treat their hives, but the most popular and most effective antihistimine to take is Diphenhydramine, although it tends to make many people drowsy, so don’t take it and then drive.

To avoid irritation wear loose fitting clothes and take cool showers.

Are Hives Dangerous?

Generally hives are not dangerous.  They usually go away on their own.  They are one of those things that look way worse than they actually are.  So if you break out in hives or if your child breaks out in hives do not panic.  They will likely clear up sooner than you’d think.

 Are Hives Contagious?

Fortunately, hives are NOT contagious.  Hives will not spread to other people if they are touched.

More Body Hives Pictures

Today, we will pick up where we left off.

Here are some more pictures of hives on various parts of the human body.

hives on the neck

Often when someone breaks out in hives on their neck, they also will break out in hives on the face, but in this case the woman was lucky enough that she did not.

Here’s an image of hives on the back.

hives on the back

Breaking out in hives on your back can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when wearing a shirt.

Here’s a picture of someone who broke out in hives on their stomach.

hives on stomach


Pictures of Hives on the Body

There are many skin conditions out there, but the one that always baffled me was hives.  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “breaking out in hives“.  Well, I’ve broken out in hives before and let me tell you from my own personal experience that it is no fun at all.  This blog will be devoted to everything about hives on all parts of the body.  We will dive into the causes of hives as well as prevention of hives and treatment of hives.  There are also many home remedies for hives and we will be discussing that as well.

But for now, I just want to show you what hives actually look like, so you can distinguish hives from other skin conditions.  Here are some pictures of hives on the hand, leg, neck, back and other parts of the body.  I’ll be posting more hives photos later.  If you’d like to submit some pictures of your own hives please do so and I will put them on the site.

Pictures of Hives

First of all, this is what hives look like.  This is a closeup picture.  You can see how the welps go off in different directions.  It’s really different than other skin conditions.

picture of hives

Here’s a picture of severe body hives.
This person has hives all over th body including up his neck and all over his face.

severe body hives

Here is another picture of chronic hives. This is another closeup.  You can see the random patterns from the hives spots.

chronic hives picture

Here’s another picture of more body hives.  This time they are all over the person’s back, almost completely covering the entire back.

body hives

Here is a picture of mild facial hives,

facial hives

and here’s another pic of hives on the face.

hives on face

Here’s a picture of severe hives on the arm,

hives on the arm

and hives on the elbow

hives on the elbow

and hives on the hand.

hives on hands

Here’s a pic of a hives breakout on the leg.

hives on the legs

I will be posting more pictures of other body parts with hives breakouts soon, so please check back often for updates.