When should I call the doctor?

Hives (urticaria) and swelling (angioedema) typically get better without treatment. Call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • Hives or swelling that last more than a week.
  • Infected-looking bumps (red, swollen or pus-filled).
  • Recurring hives that come back every few months.
  • Severe itching.
  • Signs of anaphylaxis, including wheezing, shortness of breath or vomiting.
  • Swollen lips or eyes.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

If you develop hives (urticaria) or swelling (angioedema), ask your healthcare provider:

  • Why did I get hives and swelling?
  • When should the hives and/or swelling go away?
  • Should I get an allergy test?
  • What steps can I take to prevent getting hives or swelling in the future?
  • What’s the best treatment to reduce itching?
  • What’s the best way to get rid of hives?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

Hives (urticaria) and swelling (angioedema) are your body’s way of responding to a substance (allergen) that it doesn’t like. These reactions are a bit uncomfortable, but are not always serious. You may develop hives alone, hives with swelling, or just swelling. Most of the time, these reactions go away in a day or two. If you are prone to hives or swelling, talk to your healthcare provider about getting an allergy test. Once you know what triggers your allergies, you can take steps to avoid your triggers.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/22/2020.

References

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