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Hives or “urticaria” are itchy, red bumps that affect up to 20% of people at some point in their lives. These hives typically start over minutes, spread and can join to form large areas that disappear only to appear in other areas over a few hours. When these bumps occur in the deeper layers under the skin surface they can cause swelling of the areas (typically the face, hands, feet). This condition is called “angioedema.” Sometimes this spreads to the tongue and throat causing serious symptoms like choking and difficulty breathing.

Acute hives are hives that occur for less than six weeks.

Chronic hives occur almost daily for longer than six weeks.

Hives can be uncomfortable, frustrating because they are intermittent and interfere with sleep, work or school. Since they can occur on the face and exposed areas, they can affect the way you look and alarm people with concerns of a contagious condition.

Allergists are fellowship-trained and have specialized experience in the management of hives and angioedema (swelling). We can help reduce the discomfort and create an effective plan tailored to control hives and angioedema.

(Information only; not intended to replace medical advice; adapted from AAAAI)