Hives on arms and legs look the same as hives on other parts of your body
If hives occur only on an arm or leg then they may be due to a contact allergy (e.g. plant, animal, insect sting) or they may be due to a physical factor (e.g. pressure, sunlight or temperature).1 However it is also possible that they are spontaneous, especially if there is no obvious trigger for them. Most people with chronic hives have the spontaneous form of the disease which means there is no known trigger and they can occur anytime.
How do I know if they are hives?
- Hives are red, itchy bumps that often feel like a mosquito bite.1 They vary in size from very small (e.g. the size of a pinhead) to very large (e.g. the size of a dinner plate) and can join to cover large areas of the skin.1
- They have an itching or burning sensation and can sometimes be painful.2
- The area of the skin will return to normal within 1-24 hours, but new hives can appear during this time.2
- Angioedema (swelling beneath the skin) can also occur and can take up to 72 hours to disappear.1
Photo of hives on an arms
Photo of hives on legs. Image used with permission from DermNet NZ
If you think you have hives and they aren’t getting better, then complete this quick check and take the results to your doctorSYMPTOM CHECKER
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- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Hives (urticaria). 2017. (accessed 9 Oct 2018).
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. ASCIA Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (CSU) Guidelines. 2015. (accessed 9 October 2018).