How is hives totally different from eczema?

How is hives different from eczema?

beehives and eczema each contain itchy pores and skin and are linked to allergic reactions. Though they could share some similarities, these two circumstances are distinct of their signs, underlying causes, and therapy.

This text will talk about the main variations between hives and eczema of their signs, causes, prognosis, and therapy.

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Hives, additionally referred to as Uticaria, are itchy purple bumps or welts on the physique. More often than not, the hives disappear inside just a few days to some weeks, however some individuals endure from power hives that final greater than six weeks. About 20% of individuals endure from hives sooner or later of their lives.

Eczema, additionally referred to as atopic dermatitis, is a power pores and skin situation characterised by pruritic lesions. Eczema is commonest in childhood, affecting 10-20% of youngsters, however between 1-3% of adults additionally expertise it.

Hives and eczema each contain an itchy rash, however the signs are usually not the identical.

Signs of hives

  • Raised, purple or flesh-colored, itchy bumps (welts) or patches of pores and skin that blanch (flip white) within the middle when pressed

  • Welts (additionally referred to as papules) have clearly outlined edges

  • Welts might develop bigger and be part of collectively to type bigger areas of raised pores and skin

  • Welts can disappear and reappear inside minutes or hours, however normally not than 48 hours

  • Can occur shortly

  • Welts have a tendency to seem in clusters (some might seem whereas others fade)

  • Acute hives final from just a few hours to some weeks, however normally disappear inside a day or two

  • Continual hives can final from six weeks to a number of years

  • Might seem on the neck, chest, and another areas uncovered to the triggering irritant

  • Can happen with angioedema (swelling of deeper layers of pores and skin)

Eczema signs

  • Patches of dry, itchy pores and skin

  • Seems reddish on lighter pores and skin and should seem darkish brown, purple, or ash grey on darker pores and skin

  • swelling of the pores and skin

  • Flaking of the pores and skin

  • Lichenification (when the pores and skin turns into thick and leathery)

  • Fluid-filled bumps that crust over

  • Might result in an infection, which can embody oozing

  • Continual sickness that has flare-ups that come and go

  • Signs could be minor to extreme


Hives and eczema are each linked to allergic reactions. Though they’ve related triggers in some instances, the causes of the circumstances might differ.


Acute hives are sometimes the physique’s response to an irritant, which may embody allergic reactions. This causes the physique to launch histamine and different chemical substances into the bloodstream, resulting in itching and different signs.

The reason for power urticaria is just not nicely understood.

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Any irritant can set off hives, however the commonest embody:

  • Meals reminiscent of shellfish, fish, peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk and others
  • insect bites
  • Animals/animal dandruff (normally cats)
  • Pollen
  • Medication like penicillin, sulfonamides, phenobarbitaland aspirin

Hives will also be triggered by:

  • infections
  • Illness
  • Warmth that raises physique temperature, reminiscent of scorching tubs, fever, or emotional stress
  • Chilly wind or water, typically chilly
  • Train (exercise-induced urticaria could cause lung obstruction and lack of consciousness and could be severe)
  • Strain on the pores and skin
  • Publicity to the solar or a sunlamp
  • Extreme sweating

It’s common not to have the ability to decide the reason for the hives when there isn’t a identified allergy.


Eczema is a power situation regarded as brought on by a mix of genetic and environmental elements. Typically individuals with eczema have a household historical past of eczema, bronchial asthma and/or hay fever. Gene mutations that have an effect on pores and skin barrier cells and immune cells within the pores and skin could be inherited (handed down from era to era).

Triggers for eczema flare-ups are related to people who set off hives, together with:

  • sure meals
  • animal skins
  • Mites
  • Sweat
  • Pores and skin contact with irritants like sure materials, soaps, or cleansers
  • Repeated publicity to water
  • Excessive warmth or chilly
  • emotional stress

When to contact a well being care supplier

For some individuals, allergic reactions could cause severe signs.

Name 911 (or your native emergency quantity) if there’s:

  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness within the throat
  • Swelling of the tongue or face
  • Wheezing

Name a well being care supplier utilizing their non-emergency quantity if the hives are extreme, inflicting discomfort, and unresponsive to self-care measures.

Eczema additionally requires a go to to a well being care supplier if there’s a sudden change or worsening of signs, if it’s not responding to therapy, or if there are indicators of an infection, together with:

  • Fever
  • Affected areas (or round them) are purple and scorching
  • There are bumps full of pus
  • Areas of pores and skin that appear to be chilly sores (fever blisters)

The herpes simplex virus, which causes chilly sores, could cause a severe sickness in kids with eczema referred to as eczema herpeticum. In case your kid’s rash will get worse shortly, get medical assist immediately, as early therapy is necessary.


Hives and eczema could be recognized by a major well being care supplier, but it surely’s greatest to see a board-certified dermatologist or allergist.


Hives are normally recognized by visible examination. Typically a pores and skin biopsy (taking a pattern for laboratory evaluation) or blood exams could also be carried out to verify an allergic response.

Testing for a substance suspected of inflicting the allergic response can also be carried out, however particular allergy testing is normally not useful usually of hives.


There isn’t a particular check for eczema. Sometimes, a well being care supplier:

  • Do a bodily examination
  • Ask concerning the signs
  • Ask about private and household medical historical past, particularly allergic reactions, hay fever and bronchial asthma
  • Study potential triggers, reminiscent of sure meals or soaps
  • Run exams to rule out different attainable causes, if warranted
  • Make a referral to a specialist reminiscent of a dermatologist or allergist if essential


Remedy for eczema tends to be extra advanced and ongoing than that for hives. Each circumstances contain attempting to determine and keep away from triggers.


Acute hives might go away on their very own, however there are steps you’ll be able to take to scale back signs reminiscent of itching, swelling, and discomfort.

  • Apply cool, damp compresses to the affected space
  • Keep away from scorching baths and showers
  • Put on unfastened clothes

Typically medical therapy could also be wanted beneath the path of a dermatologist, allergist, or healthcare skilled. This will embody:

  • Antihistamines, particularly for recurrent episodes: some non-sedating antihistamines can assist deal with hives. Ask your healthcare skilled or pharmacist.
  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Oral prescription drugs, if the hives are power

In case you have a extreme response, significantly in case you have a swollen throat and/or airway obstruction, you might want an emergency injection of epinephrine or steroids.


The keystone within the therapy of eczema is the care and hydration of the pores and skin. Moreover, it is necessary to maintain the pores and skin hydrated throughout flare-ups and in between.

Perfume-free ointments or lotions with a better oil content material ought to be utilized a minimum of one to 3 instances a day. The most effective time to moisturize is true after a heat (not scorching) tub or bathe and gently patting dry.

Making use of moist wraps (a therapy that includes a moist layer lined with a dry layer) can assist handle itching.

If signs do not reply to over-the-counter (OTC) moisturizers and residential therapies, your healthcare supplier might counsel choices reminiscent of:

  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Sedating antihistamines (at night time)
  • Nonsteroidal prescription lotions reminiscent of Elidel (pimecrolimus), Protopic (tacrolimus), And Eucrisis (crisaborole)
  • Oral drugs reminiscent of corticosteroids or different immunosuppressants
  • An injectable biologic drug Dupixent (dupilumab)
  • Phototherapy (makes use of specialised ultraviolet mild)


Hives and eczema cannot all the time be prevented, however studying to keep away from the issues that set off them could be useful in lowering episodes.

In the event you can pinpoint the reason for your hives or eczema, reminiscent of a selected meals, avoiding that set off will cut back the chance of getting a flare-up or episode. If you cannot keep away from your triggers, attempt to handle them, reminiscent of holding your private home cool and utilizing delicate soaps and detergents.

Most often, power hives are usually not associated to an allergy, so allergy testing tends to not be useful.


Hives and eczema trigger itchy, purple patches on the pores and skin, however they’re separate circumstances.

Irritants and allergens reminiscent of sure meals, animals, chemical substances, climate circumstances, and emotional stress can set off hives or an eczema flare-up for those who’re delicate to them.

Avoiding triggers is one of the best ways to handle hives and eczema, but it surely’s not all the time attainable. If a response happens, acute hives normally go away with minimal therapy, however power hives and eczema typically require a therapy plan.

In case your signs are extreme, particularly in case you have bother respiration, search emergency medical consideration.

Continuously Requested Questions

  • Are hives and eczema an allergic response?

    Each hives and eczema are associated to allergic reactions, however they aren’t essentially an allergic response. Allergens can set off hives or eczema flare-ups in people who find themselves delicate to them, however hives and eczema flare-ups will also be triggered by non-allergic causes, reminiscent of emotional stress or temperature extremes .

  • Is the rash of hives or eczema contagious?

    Hives and eczema could be triggered by infections or sicknesses that might be contagious, however neither is contagious per se. In case you have hives or eczema that is not associated to a contagious illness, you need not avoid others throughout a flare-up or episode.

By Heather Jones

Heather M. Jones is a contract author specializing in well being, parenting, incapacity and feminism.

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