Skin Conditions That Share Symptoms With Chronic Hives

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Skin conditions can look similar; many have a red, itchy rash as one of the main symptoms. But the treatment for each may not be the same, which makes an accurate diagnosis important. Continue reading to find out what skin conditions share symptoms with hives.

Hives on legs.

Symptoms of chronic hives

Hives, also called urticaria, are characterized by pink swellings on the skin called welts. These can appear anywhere on body and are itchy. The welts can last a few hours with new hives appearing as old ones disappear. Chronic hives are those that last longer than six weeks. About 95 percent of chronic hive cases are idiopathic, meaning there is no discernible cause, according to American Osteopathic College of Dermatologists.

Baby with heat rash.

Heat rash

Heat rash, also called miliaria or prickly heat, is characterized by raised, red bumps, which can be inflamed and itchy. The bumps are usually smaller than hives and resemble small pimples. It occurs when sweat ducts are blocked and usually disappears in a few days. Heat rash is common in babies, according to, because their sweat glands are not fully mature.

Woman itching arm outdoors.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis shares many symptoms with hives, including a red rash, bumps, and itchy dry skin. While hives can appear anywhere on body, contact dermatitis appears where the skin has been exposed to an irritant or allergen, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It usually goes away within a few days to a few weeks. Treatment uses antihistamines, which are also used for hives.

Rosacea on cheeks.


Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that appears on the face. The appearance may be similar to hives — small red bumps — on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin with reddened areas across the face. Rosacea is limited to the face and is often preceded by blushing easily, according to American Academy of Dermatology.

Woman with eczema.


Eczema can look like hives. Both have red patches of itchy skin. Eczema, however, also has small, raised bumps. It tends to appear on the cheeks and chin but can occur anywhere on the body, according to the National Eczema Foundation.

Woman with a headache and a fever.

Pityriasis rosea

Pityriasis rosea begins with large, raised, red patches of skin. There is a herald patch, called the mother patch, which is similar in appearance to hives, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The rash spreads around the initial patch and you may have a headache, fever, sore throat, and stuffy nose. It usually goes away in four to six weeks and may be treated with antiviral medications to reduce the duration.

Woman explaining her swollen nymph nodes to a doctor.

Urticarial vasculitis

Urticarial vasculitis is a form of vasculitis that affects the skin. It causes wheals and red patches due to the swelling of small blood vessels, according to the Vasculitis Foundation. The skin patches are often red-rimmed with white centers and may have bleeding under the skin. The patches can last for days and may be accompanied by fever, joint and abdominal pain, shortness of breath, and swollen lymph glands.

Swollen eye.


Angioedema is similar to hives but affect deeper layers of the skin according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It most commonly appears around the eyes, cheeks, and lips and is characterized by large, thick, firm welts and swelling, redness, pain, or warmth in affected area. Severe angioedema can be life-threatening if swelling causes your throat or tongue to block your airway. It can occur at the same time as hives.

Man with an itchy hand.


Chronic hives are those that last more than six weeks. Many people with chronic hives have what is considered idiopathic hives, which means there is no discernable cause. In these cases, it can be easy to misdiagnose as allergic hives or another condition. An accurate diagnosis may begin with ruling out other skin conditions.

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.