Hives, also known by their medical term as Urticaria, occur in 15-20% of people during their lifetime. Hives present as red, juicy, itchy elevations of varying shapes and sizes the skin that last less than 24 hours and do not leave any residual trace of change on the skin.
How long do hives last?
These itchy elevations come and go over the course of weeks, months and even years. Luckily, the majority of cases resolve in less than 2 weeks to 3 months. More than 80% of new cases of urticaria resolve in 2 weeks, and >95% resolve in 3 months.
What causes hives?
The cause of hives is oftentimes unknown, but a preceding viral or bacterial infection, foods and medications can trigger an outbreak.
Do I need to be worried if I am having hives?
No need for further investigation is typically warranted with shorter courses of hives, but for those with persistent hives lasting many months, Dr. Campbell may recommend further medical work-up. If you are having any involvement of your airway (i.e. mouth, lips, throat) or experiencing shortness of breath or other systemic symptoms with your hives, consult your physician immediately or go to your nearest emergency department.
How are hives treated?
Hives are best treated with antihistamines and avoidance of triggers, including: medications, heat, pressure, cold, exercise. Consult with your doctor prior to stopping any medications.