What Are Hives & How To Get Relief From Chronic Hives


A dermatologist at a low income clinic.

Hives are rashes or welts on the skin that can be often itchy. In some cases, these welts may connect to form larger welts. Usually, a hive can go away in a day or less and new hives can appear with the fading of the old one. As per the skin experts, a bout of hives usually lasts less than six weeks and is called acute hives. Hives that last for 6 weeks and more are termed chronic hives. Acute hives can result from an allergy, but there can be many other reasons for acute hives.


Urticaria is the medical term for hives and when large welts are present deep under the skin, it is called angioedema. It can occur with hives and result in inflammations in lips and eyelids. If this is experienced, the person will need immediate emergency care.


Causes And Types Of Hives 

Hives can be caused by physical triggers like cold, pressure, or water, an allergic reaction, or a medical condition like an autoimmune disorder or an infection. The rashes or welts can be white, red, pink, or skin-colored. Just like hives vary in color, they come in different shapes too. Some hives look like blotches or tiny spots and others look like raised lines. They also appear in different sizes and can be as small as a pinprick or as large as a plate. Chronic hives are when you continue to get hives every day for 6 weeks or longer and the medical term for the condition is chronic urticaria.


Treatment Of Chronic Hives 

When you have chronic hives for 6 weeks or longer, the dermatologist will recommend you to:

  • Consult with a board-certified dermatologist, primary care doctor, or allergist. You can visit a free women’s health clinic or any affordable health clinic in your area to make an appointment to seek professional help.
  • Keep track of the hive flare-ups. It might not always be possible to find out the exact cause of hives. However, keeping track of the hives can allow you to find out what is triggering your hives.
  • Capture images of your hives. When you see a dermatologist, you may not have any hives, and taking photos of the hives will let the dermatologist make sure that you have hives. Many other skin conditions can look like hives.
  • Relieve the itching. Itching can be common in people suffering from chronic hives. Avoiding overheating, wearing loose-fitting cotton cloths, and applying a cold compress can help relieve itching from hives.
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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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