Chronic Hives or welts, also known as urticaria, are itchy, raised, reddish areas on the skin. About one in 5 people will develop hives during their life. Hives often appear without warning and may start at any age.
Heat Hives are itchy and can occur anywhere on the body including the face, extremities, chest, back, or face. chronic urticaria/Hives range in size from just a few millimeters to several centimeters. An individual hive usually fades within a 24-hour period and the skin returns to normal without leaving any marks or bruising.
What causes hives? They can appear suddenly, and maybe the result of allergic reactions to medications, foods, latex, plant pollen, animal dander, or other substances. Chronic Hives may be triggered by viral infections, temperature extremes, water, sun, and physical exercise.
Some people have chronic urticaria that occurs almost daily for months or, in some cases, years.
Most people have idiopathic chronic urticaria, meaning the cause of the hives is unknown.
Treatment For Chronic Hives
Medications will not “cure” hives but will help your itching and reduce hives.
Antihistamines are the best initial medication to treat your hives. Sometimes, a combination of several antihistamines or an increased dose of one antihistamine may be recommended.
Older antihistamines (sedating antihistamines- hydroxyzine, Benadryl) may cause you to get sleepy, cause dryness, and only last for several hours. Newer non-sedating antihistamines (xyzal, Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, and Clarinex) are less likely to make you sleepy. They have fewer side effects and last much longer. Non-sedating antihistamines are often the first medication doctors will prescribe for your hives. High dosages, up to 4 times the recommended dose, are often well tolerated and can help control your itching. This will also help to prevent the use of other medications that may have more side effects such as prednisone.
For those who do not improve on antihistamines, 65% respond to omalizumab, a monoclonal antibody that is an FDA-approved treatment of chronic urticaria.