Chronic hives are long-lasting raised, red, and itchy patches of skin called wheals or welts. This condition is also called chronic urticaria. Hives usually have red borders and pale centres. They range in size from ½ centimetre to 7 centimetres or more across. They may seem to move from place to place on the skin. Several hives may join to form a large area of raised, red skin.
When hives and swelling last more than 6 weeks even with treatment, they are called chronic. A single spot of hives may last less than 36 hours, but the problem may come and go for weeks or months. In most people, the problem often lasts less than 1 year and almost always goes away within 5 years.
Hives may occur with swelling under the skin (called angioedema). But you may have swelling without hives. Swelling may hurt a bit, but it does not usually itch like hives. It can be dangerous if severe swelling affects your throat, but this is very rare.
You cannot spread hives to other people.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Give an epinephrine shot if:
After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if you feel better.
Call 911 if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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