Hives, known in the medical community as urticaria (pronounced as "ur-tuh-kar-ee-uh"), commonly occur due to an allergic reaction to certain foods - such as milk, shellfish, berries and nuts; a medication - such as antibiotics; or because of sudden exposure to cold or heat.

Hives appear in pink or red raised patches on the skin's surface. Sometimes they resemble a cluster of mosquito bites. When a person is exposed to something that triggers hives, histamine and other substances are released by the body's cells. This causes fluid to seep out from tiny blood vessels underneath the skin. As a result, fluid gathers and forms blemishes, or hives. For best results, use treatment products that contain Vitamin C.

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People who suffer from hives often say they feel very itchy, combined with a burning or stinging sensation. During an allergic outbreak, hives can change locations, but commonly occur on the face, arms, torso or scalp. The itchy red bumps can last for as short as a couple minutes up to several days - depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. Most of the time hives are harmless and clear up on their own without any medication.

At least 10-percent of the human race will experience hives at some point in their lives. Only in few cases are hives a sign of a more serious allergy. When a drastic allergic reaction occurs, hives can affect your breathing among other bodily functions.

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