Hives is a skin reaction that causes raised, red, itchy welts, called wheals or swellings, in sizes ranging from small spots to large blotches several inches in diameter.
- Raised red or white welts of various sizes that can cover large areas of skin;
- Welts that cure while new welts erupt, making it seem as if the condition ‘moves’;
- Itching, which may be severe;
- Burning or stinging may occur rarely in the affected area.
- Try to identify and avoid substances that either irritate your skin or may cause an allergic reaction. These can include foods, medications, pollen, pet dander, latex and insect stings;
- Use an over-the-counter antihistamine. A non-prescription oral antihistamine, such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may help relieve itching;
- Apply cool, wet compresses;
- Take a comfortably cool bath;
- Wear loose, smooth-textured cotton clothing. Avoid clothing that is rough, tight, scratchy, or made from wool. This will help you avoid irritation.
When to See a Doctor:
- Your hives does not respond to treatment;
- You have severe discomfort;
- Your symptoms continue for more than a few days.
Seek Emergency Care If:
- You feel lightheaded;
- You have severe chest tightness or trouble breathing;
- You feel your throat is swelling.