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Acute urticaria is hives or other swelling that lasts less than six weeks. Hives occur for many different reasons, and a person with hives may experience itching, redness, or pain. Although symptoms may come on quickly and without explanation, hives are rarely a medical emergency, and at-home treatment is typically effective. Any part of the body can break out in hives including the lips, tongue, ears, and genitals.

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1. What are the most common causes of urticaria?

Urticaria, or hives, most often occur as an allergic reaction, usually to something internal such as food or medication. Hives may also occur as a reaction to a substance or material that has come into contact with the surface of the skin. Common culprits include:

  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Fish or shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Soaps or lotions
  • Wool clothing
  • Hives may also occur as the result of stress, infection, or underlying illness. Treatment is normally quite simple. Determining the cause, however, may not be quite so easy.

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