While most cases of urticaria or hives are self-limited and end within six weeks, there are cases of hives that persist. This is known as chronic spontaneous urticaria. As with acute urticaria, burning, itching or stinging welts can occur anywhere on the body, ranging in size from very small to quite large, and even extensive when they’re referred to as giant urticaria. Acute urticaria lasting less than six weeks is most commonly caused by foods, medications, or infections. These all cause histamine release, which is responsible for symptoms ranging from mild itch, severe itch, burning, and stinging to the point of being painful. An insect bite parallels exactly the spectrum of histamine release.