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Hives are raised, red, itchy patches of skin. They usually have red borders and pale centres. Hives range in size from ½ centimetre to 8 centimetres (¼ inch to 3 inches) or more across. They may seem to move from place to place on the skin. Several hives may form a large area of raised, red skin.
Hives are an allergic reaction of the skin. They can happen because of a reaction to medicine, food, or infection. Other things can also cause hives. But sometimes the cause is unknown.
You cannot spread hives to other people.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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