Are Hives Triggered by Summer Heat?

Hives, or urticaria, appear as itchy welts on the skin. They can be caused by many different things and are never fun to experience. Some people get them a couple of times in their lives, while others have them chronically. When your body temperature rises, your skin may react to heat or sweat. But one common question people have about hives remains – why are they worse in the summer?

Causes of hives

Hives appear when specific cells release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream, causing a skin reaction. Some of the common triggers of this reaction are:

  • Foods (Fruits (especially citrus fruits), milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish)
  • Heat (cholinergic urticaria)
  • Exercise
  • Pressure on the Skin (tight clothing, or sitting too long)
  • Medicines
  • Insect Bites
  • Animal
  • Infections (colds and infections caused by some bacteria or fungi)
  • Illnesses (including a type of vasculitis, lupus, and thyroid disease)

In a lot of chronic cases of hives, the cause is difficult to determine and often remains a mystery.


Hives produce slightly raised swellings that occur alone or in a group. They appear anywhere on the body but more likely on the face, chest, upper back, and arms. Hives usually itch and sometimes hurt or sting. These symptoms typically go away within 24 hours. Those with chronic hives appear for longer than six weeks and frequently recur for months or years.


Hives are mostly relieved with antihistamines. Other medications used are steroids, leukotriene inhibitors (Singular), immunosuppressants (cyclosporine, dapsone), Danazol, beta-blockers (propranolol), topical scopolamine, and omalizumab (Xolair). If the hives are a part of an allergic reaction, emergency care is needed, and epinephrine is often administered.

Prevention methods may also help hives, such as cooling your skin with a cold shower or standing in front of a fan, wearing loose clothes, keeping your house at a cooler temperature, and managing stress. If you are having trouble managing your hives, you should see a dermatologist.

In conclusion, yes, heat can cause hives, among other things. If you aren’t sure what is triggering yours, keep a journal of your activities and what you eat so you can discuss it with your doctor. Clinical research studies are helping us to learn more about hives and what causes them. These discoveries lead to an improvement in the options available to those who suffer from chronic hives. To learn more about our enrolling studies for chronic hives, call (813) 264-2155, or click here.