Hives (urticaria) are an
allergic reaction of the skin. Hives are raised, red, itchy patches of
skin (wheals or welts) that may appear and disappear at random. They
range in size from less than a quarter-inch to an inch or more, and they
may last as little as a few minutes or as long as a few days. Multiple
hives may occur in response to a drug, food, or infection. A single hive
commonly develops after an insect sting. Other possible causes include
plants, inhaled allergens, stress, cosmetics, and exposure to heat,
cold, or sunlight. Often a cause cannot be found.
Avoid foods, medications, cosmetics, plants, insects, and animals that
cause you to break out in hives.
Reduce stress in your life.
Continue to avoid the substance that causes hives.
Cool water compresses will help relieve itching.
An oral antihistamine (Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton) may help treat the
hives and relieve itching. Once the hives have disappeared, decrease the
dose of the
medication slowly over five to seven days.
When to Call a Health
services immediately if hives occur with the following signs of a severe
allergic reaction, especially soon after taking a drug, eating a certain
food, or being stung by an insect:
Lightheadedness or feeling like you may pass out.
Swelling around the lips, tongue, or face that may interfere with
Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
Call a health professional immediately If there is swelling of the lips,
face that is not interfering with breathing.
If many hives develop rapidly.
If you commonly get hives, apply home treatment as your doctor has
Call a health
If hives persist
for several days despite home treatment and avoiding suspected