Having hives appear all over your body can be a very stressful situation regardless of whether it is the first time or it has happened many times before.
Photo of hives over body. Image used with permission from DermNet New Zealand.
Hives will disappear without any treatment in up to 80% of people within 12 months but there are many people that suffer with hives daily for weeks, months and years.1
In all types of urticaria, the individual hives usually disappear within 24 hours. In the case of an allergic reaction the hives will be completely gone within 6-8 hours if the allergen (trigger) has been removed.2 If more hives appear every day and this pattern lasts for 6 weeks or more it is likely to be chronic urticaria.1
Regardless of the type of urticaria, treatments are available to provide relief from the redness and itch. These include:
- Anti-itch, cooling skin lotions such as calamine lotion or 1% menthol in aqueous cream may help to relieve itching, but they won’t make the hives or swelling disappear any quicker.3
- Antihistamines are often the first treatment prescribed for hives and are effective in many people.1
- Oral steroids may be prescribed for short periods in severe cases.1
- Other prescription options are available for people with chronic hives. Talk to your doctor to find out what is best for you.
If hives and itch are interfering with your quality of life, there are effective treatment options. For some of these treatments you need to be in the care of an immunologist or dermatologist. Speak to your GP about a referral to an urticaria specialist.
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Locate a specialistAustralasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Skin & Cancer Foundation Australasian College of Dermatologists
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. ASCIA HP Position Paper Chronic Urticaria Guidelines 2020. Available from https://allergy.org.au/images/stories/pospapers/ASCIA_HP_Position_Paper_CSU_2020.pdf Accessed August 2021.
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Hives (urticaria). 2017. (accessed 9 Oct 2018).
- Deacock SJ. Clin & Exp Immunol 2008; 153:151–161.