Hives, or urticaria, is a condition that affects about 20% of the population at some point in their lives. It consists of itchy red spots or patches that usually come and go within a 24-hour period of time. A hive reaction can be triggered by many different causes, among those are exposure to foods, pollens or infections. A severe hive outbreak can be dangerous because it could cause a person to have difficulty breathing, go into shock and possibly die. Treatments for hives will usually include oral antihistamines but also oral steroids or steroid injections.