Can exercise cause hives?

I am an "exercise-induced" hive sufferer. The hives I experience usually, if not always, show themselves when it's extremely hot out, or I am training outdoors and it's warm, and usually on my back only. On the flip-side I have a client that suffers from hives as an auto-immune disorder on her hands and legs.

Hives are a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps, and are frequently caused by allergic reactions, in most cases lasting less than 6 weeks; however, there are many non-allergic causes:

  • friction
  • pressure
  • temperature extremes
  • exercise
  • sunlight
  • acute viral infection(s)

Chronic hives (lasting 6 weeks or more) are rarely due to an allergy. As many as 30–40% of patients with chronic hives will, in fact, have an autoimmune cause.

If taking an anti-hystamine doesn't lessen your symptoms it is important to seek the professional advice of your doctor, or have your doctor refer you to a specialist.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Exercise can cause hives if a person develops an allergic reaction to the physical stress. Hives or welts can form that look like raised, flat bumps on the skin. They can be red spots, blisters, or blotches on any part of the body. Stop exercising if you develop hives. If the hives don’t go away after 5 to 10 minutes, call your doctor. Medicines such as antihistamines can prevent symptoms in some cases. Your doctor can help you identify things that trigger your allergic reaction. For some people, it may be necessary to avoid certain types of exercise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.