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5 Skin Disorders You Might Mistake for Hives

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be confused with hives on first glance because it shares many of the same symptoms. The red rash and bumps are accompanied by itchy, dry skin. The only difference is that hives can show up on several areas of the skin, but contact dermatitis appears only on the areas that are exposed to an allergen or an irritant. It generally lasts about the same length of time as hives, usually resolving itself without medication in two to four weeks.

Much like hives, the treatment will come from antihistamines. You'll also need to avoid the irritant to prevent future outbreaks. If the symptoms are mild to moderate you can usually get away with applying a wet compress to the affected area or using an anti-itch cream [source: Mayo Clinic].