Chronic Hives: Common Triggers

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Common (And Not so Common) Triggers for Hives

Hives can come on without warning and last for weeks or months. The cause for chronic hives isn’t always known but you can learn about common triggers for hives to avoid them and lower your risk of an outbreak. Continue reading to find out about some of the common and not so common triggers.

Doctor dentist showing patient's teeth on X-ray

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay and infections of the sinuses, adenoids, tonsils, genitourinary tract, gall bladder and kidney can trigger hives, according to a study published in the journal Advances in Dermatology and Allergology. If you have chronic hives, it is probably a good idea to see your dentist on a regular basis.

sick man typing on laptop

Bacterial and Viral Infections

Strep throat and urinary tract infections have been associated with chronic hives. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections and strep throat and viral infections, including the common cold, as common triggers for hives.

young woman sitting in front of fan cloth on forehead


Sweating may trigger hives in some people. Sweating causes your body temperature to rise, which in turn can trigger hives, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. If this is one of your triggers, talk to your doctor about taking a non-sedating antihistamine before exercising or being out in the heat.

young stressed out woman


People with chronic hives often report that the hives worsen during times of stress. A study published in Dermatology Times found that chronic idiopathic urticaria may arise after a major life stress and that psychological stress can exacerbate the condition.

Food Additives, Preservatives and Coloring

For some people, food additives, preservatives and coloring could trigger an outbreak of hives. A study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology found that food intolerances may play a role in outbreaks.

Sun Exposure

Solar urticaria is when hives appear minutes after exposure to the sun. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, sun exposure can be a trigger for hives.

Micrograph of Hashimoto thyroiditis

Problems With the Immune System

About one-half of all cases of chronic idiopathic hives are attributed to the immune system, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The most common autoimmune disorder that cause chronic hives is Hashimoto’s disease.

Belt pulled tight across male waist.

Pressure on the Skin

Tight waistbands, belts or constrictive clothing can all trigger hives, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. This can sometimes result in delayed pressure urticaria, where swelling can occur anywhere from six to eight hours after pressure has been applied to the skin.

Poison ivy rash on arm.

Insect Bites and Skin Reactions to Certain Plants

Insect bites and other skin trauma, such as rashes from poison oak or poison ivy, can trigger hives, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.