Urticaria (hives) are localized, pale, itchy, pink wheals (swellings) that can burn or sting.  They may occur singularly or in groups on any part of the skin; they are part of an allergic reaction and are very common.  Approximately 10-20 percent of the population will have at least one episode in their lifetime.  Most episodes of hives disappear quickly in a few days to a few weeks.  Occasionally, a person will have them for many months or years.  New hives may develop as hold ones fade.  Hives can vary in size from as small as a pencil eraser to as large as a dinner plate, and may join to form even larger swellings.

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