Urticaria (or hives) is a skin condition, commonly caused by an allergic reaction. Wheals from urticaria can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, and ears. The wheals typically itch severely, sting, or burn, and often have a pale border.
Urticaria is generally caused by direct contact with an allergenic substance, or an immune response to food or some other allergen, but can also appear for other reasons, notably emotional stress. The rash can be triggered by quite innocent events, such as mere rubbing or exposure to cold.
Urticarias can be very difficult to treat. Drug treatment is typically in the form of Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, cetirizine and other H1 receptor antagonists.
Most treatment plans for urticaria involve being aware of one's triggers, but this can be difficult since there are several different forms of urticaria and people often exhibit more than one type. Also, since symptoms are often idiopathic (unknown reason) there might not be any clear trigger. If one's triggers can be identified then outbreaks can often be managed by limiting one's exposure to these situations.