What’s the distinction between hives and a rash?

What is the difference between hives and a rash?

“Rash” is a normal time period used to explain a change within the common look of your pores and skin, whereas hives are a particular kind of rash. Hives have a definite look and often happen in response to an allergen, though they will seem with no particular trigger. Having hives together with different signs like swelling or shortness of breath might point out a critical allergic response.

This text will discover the signs, causes, and coverings you possibly can count on with hives that you simply won’t see with different kinds of rashes.

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Rashes and hives trigger adjustments in pores and skin look and itching; nevertheless, there are distinct variations.


Rashes can differ in look and trigger all kinds of signs, similar to:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Drought
  • bumps
  • Peeling or cracking
  • Blisters
  • Scorching or burning pores and skin
  • Swelling


Urticaria is a particular type of pores and skin rash with some distinctive traits. They differ from different kinds of rash as a result of generally, with out therapy, they will come and go shortly or migrate to a different a part of your physique.

Hives often seem as raised bumps that flip white (flip white) if you press on them. They’ve a purple or flesh-colored base.

What do allergic hives appear to be?

The looks of hives stays the identical whatever the underlying trigger. They are going to nearly all the time seem purple or the colour of your pores and skin and raised with a bleachable white middle. Allergic hives typically seem together with different signs, which can point out the necessity for fast therapy. Indicators of a extreme allergic response (anaphylaxis) that will seem alongside hives embody:

  • Swelling of the tongue, lips or throat
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Stun
  • Belly ache or cramps


Irritants and allergic reactions are widespread triggers for rashes and hives. Rashes have all kinds of triggers and hives are a particular kind of rash. Hives may be acute (short-term) or continual (long-term) and consequence from meals, drugs, insect bites, an underlying illness, or an autoimmune illness.


Rashes may be attributable to many issues, from infections to easy irritations. The most typical kinds of rashes are:

  • Eczema: Could also be triggered by allergens or irritants; additionally it is a stand-alone analysis
  • Contact dermatitis: The results of merchandise similar to perfumes or chemical substances that trigger pores and skin irritation or irritation
  • Urticaria: A sort of rash often attributable to an allergy


Hives are a kind of pores and skin rash related to allergic reactions. Causes of hives typically embody the next:

  • Insect stings or bites
  • sure meals
  • Pet dander
  • Daylight
  • Vibrations (vibrational angioedema, when the pores and skin is in touch with a vibrating object)
  • Excessive chilly or warmth
  • Sure drugs
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Blood transfusions
  • Stress


Well being care suppliers often diagnose hives by doing a bodily examination. They are going to probably ask you about your historical past of earlier allergic reactions and rashes. In case your hives are attributable to an allergic response, a healthcare supplier will ask you to take steps to stop and deal with future allergic reactions. You may even be referred to an allergy specialist (allergist).

In case your hives last more than a couple of weeks, you might must carry out further pores and skin assessments or assessments utilizing your blood or urine to determine triggers.

In case your healthcare supplier suspects one other kind of rash aside from hives, they might wish to scrape some pores and skin cells to have a look at them below a microscope. This course of helps the supplier determine a extra particular trigger in your rash or irritation. You may additionally endure assessments similar to a patch check or a biopsy (removing of a pores and skin pattern for laboratory evaluation) to seek out out the reason for your rash or hives, relying on some other signs you’re experiencing.


Therapy for rash versus hives will depend on the underlying trigger.


The hives often go away on their very own inside a day or two. Suppliers typically take a three-pronged method when treating hives, which incorporates:

  • Management itching
  • Prevention of recent hives
  • Keep away from the underlying trigger

Extreme and protracted instances of hives could require remedy, together with:

  • Anti-itch lotions or lotions
  • Antihistamines, similar to Zyrtec (cetirizine) or Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Corticosteroids, similar to Rayos (prednisone)
  • Xolair (omalizumab)

Hives related to extreme allergic reactions may require emergency care.


Since there are numerous causes of rashes, the therapy additionally varies. Most rashes may be handled at dwelling with over-the-counter antihistamines or topical lotions. Nevertheless, there are instances of rashes that will point out one thing extra critical. Options of rashes that ought to immediate a physician embody:

  • A rash everywhere in the physique
  • A pores and skin rash accompanied by fever
  • A rash that seems shortly and spreads
  • A painful or blistered rash
  • An contaminated rash


Figuring out allergic reactions or sensitivities that set off rashes or hives is the very best prevention technique. This will likely imply avoiding sure materials or altering your laundry detergent.

Your well being care supplier can carry out assessments to assist determine particular allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are unpredictable. For meals and drug allergic reactions, one of the best ways to stop a response is to keep away from the set off.

If allergic reactions aren’t inflicting your hives or rashes, good skincare practices like minimizing solar publicity can assist, in addition to rest therapies for stress-triggered hives.


“Hive” and “rashes” are sometimes used interchangeably to explain a change within the typical look of your pores and skin. Nevertheless, it is very important distinguish the variations between the 2 phrases.

Rashes can take many types and seem for varied causes, whereas hives are a kind of rash that’s purple or the colour of your pores and skin and turns white when touched. An allergy often causes hives. Should you expertise different hives-related signs, similar to shortness of breath or swelling, search medical consideration instantly.

Verywell Well being solely makes use of top quality sources, together with peer-reviewed research, to assist the info in our articles. Learn our editorial course of to be taught extra about how we truth verify and guarantee our content material is correct, dependable and reliable.

  1. American Academy of Allergy, Bronchial asthma and Immunology. Rashes.

  2. American Academy of Allergy, Bronchial asthma and Immunology. Urticaria.

  3. American Bronchial asthma and Allergy Basis. Anaphylaxis (extreme allergic response).

  4. MedlinePlus. Inconsiderate evaluation.

  5. Affiliation of the American Academy of Dermatology. Hives: analysis and therapy.

  6. Affiliation of the American Academy of Dermatology. Rash 101 in adults: When to see a physician.

  7. Nationwide Institutes of Well being. Therapy of eczema (atopic dermatitis).

  8. American Academy of Allergy, Bronchial asthma and Immunology. Overview of contact dermatitis.

By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN.

Rachael is a contract well being care author and demanding care nurse based mostly close to Cleveland, Ohio.

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