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.
Causes of hives
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.
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