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What Are Heat Hives? How to Kill the Itch This Summer

Why do heat and sweat make you itch? It's called heat hives — this tingly, red rash can affect you in the summer or under high-stress situations. In this post, we’ll discuss what heat hives are and treatment options.

What are Heat Hives?

Known medically as cholinergic urticarial, heat hives are red, itchy, burning bumps caused by an allergic reaction to heat or nerves.

Heat hives can happen at any age, though most cases develop during teen years and the early twenties. Some people only experience heat hives once in their lives, but most people who get them once will deal with it throughout their lifetime.

Red, burning skin irritation is the most common symptom of heat hives. But more severe symptoms like headache, wheezing or shortness or breath, cramps and other physical side effects can also accompany the rash.

What Causes Heat Hives?

External temperatures isn't the only cause of heat hives. Any activity that raises your body temperature can prompt these rashes and intense burning sensation. If you regularly experience hives from heat, it might be more difficult to pinpoint the causes. Most often, heat-induced hives occur while sun bathing, exercising, taking a hot shower or when under stress.

Researchers have linked two neurotransmitters to heat hives:

  • Acetylcholine: In hot conditions, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released in the skin’s nerve endings and causes the heat hives response.
  • Histamines: Heat hives are an allergic reaction to heat. Like any allergy, once exposed to the allergen, your immune system releases histamines, causing an itchy or prickly sensation on the skin. Hives from heat can also spread beyond the area initially affected.

How to Get Rid of Heat Hives

Every case of heat-induced hives is unique. To gain relief and deal with heat hives, try these treatment options:

Prescription medications

If you break out in heat hives often, consult a dermatologist or doctor. Some treatment options your doctor might prescribe include:

  • Steroids: Steroid creams are often prescribed to help reduce the burning and redness associated with hives from heat.
  • Antihistamines: Heat hives are the result of an allergic reaction. Antihistamine or allergy medications can reduce the symptoms of the allergic reaction to heat but do not treat the actual welts.


OxyHives is a natural spray that treats heat-induced hives. Simply put two sprays underneath your tongue two to three times a day to prevent or treat the onset of hives.

This heat hives treatment spray requires 2-3 hours to take effect. If heat hives affect you at night, take the drops several hours before you go to sleep.

Eliminate hive-inducing triggers

If you notice heat hives appear during certain activities or in stressful environments, try to avoid these situations when possible. If you enjoy being out in the sun or exercising, come prepared with a cool towel or hive medication in case an episode strikes.

Wear loose clothing

Tight clothing plus heat can be a breeding ground for heat hives. When heading into a warm environment, wear loose clothing to prevent your body temperature from spiking.

Avoid hot showers

Hot showers can aggravate your skin, especially when you already have a hives breakout. Take a cooler shower or bath to avoid heat hives or prevent them from worsening.

Don't take Advil or aspirin

You might think anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen would soothe your hives. But these medications actually worsen the reaction, so resist the urge to take them if you break out in hives.

What other tips do you have for dealing with heat hives?