What Are Hives?

Hives rashes usually settle down within a few minutes to a few days and you can often treat hives yourself without the need for a GP.

Hives can be different sizes and shapes and appear anywhere on the body in both adults and children.

The rash is often itchy and sometimes causes a stinging or burning sensation.

At the pharmacy

A pharmacist can give you advice about antihistamine tablets to help a hives rash.

Tell the pharmacist if you have a long-term condition as you might not be able to take antihistamines and they also may not be suitable for young children.

See a GP if:

·      The symptoms do not improve after 2 days

·      You’re worried about your child’s hives

·      The rash is spreading

·      Hives keeps coming back – you may be allergic to something

·      You also have a high temperature and feel generally unwell

·      You also have swelling under the skin – this might be angioedema

Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

·      You’re wheezing

·      You get tightness in your chest or throat

·      You have trouble breathing or talking

·      Your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling

You could be having a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

Treatment for hives from a GP

A GP may prescribe menthol cream, stronger antihistamines or steroid tablets.

If hives does not go away with treatment, you may be referred to a Dermatologist.

You cannot always prevent hives as hives occur when something causes high levels of histamine and other chemicals to be released in your skin, known as a trigger.

Triggers can include:

·      Eating certain foods

·      Contact with certain plants, animals, chemicals or latex

·      Cold – such as cold water or wind

·      Hot, sweaty skin – from exercise, emotional stress or eating spicy food

·      A reaction to a medicine, insect bite or sting

·      Scratching or pressing on your skin – such as wearing itchy or tight clothing

·      An infection

·      A problem with your immune system

·      Water or sunlight but this is rare

Try to find out what triggers hives for you, so you can avoid those triggers. This may help prevent an episode of hives.