Hives occur as a swelling in the skin. That swelling usually lasts less than 24 hours but then reoccurs in other areas. The swelling has a sharp well-defined border. The number of lesions varies from a few too numerous covering over 50% of the body surface. The lesions of angioedema cause a deeper swelling with a little or no itching. Hives are either isolated or connected to each other causing a polycyclic or annular pattern. There are varying degrees of redness.


Hives occur as a swelling of the skin. They typically appear and are gone in less than 24 hours, only to be replaced by newer lesions.


Acute urticaria. These lesions have a round poly-cyclic pattern with clearing in the center.


Acute urticaria showing the classic presentation of uniform welts on the skin surface


Angioedema. Hives occuring deep in the skin are called angioedema. Swelling of the lips is a common presentation.


Angioedema with massive swelling in the second layer of the skin. There was little or no itching in contrast to typical hives which may itch intensely.