When to seek medical help

Most of the time, hives will go away by themselves and need no treatment. You should contact your doctor if:

  • Your hives last longer than a few day.
  • They continue to recur for a month or longer.
  • You have symptoms of angioedema or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic response).

Go to an emergency room immediately if any of the following symptoms accompany the development of your hives or angioedema:

  • Dizziness.
  • Wheezing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Tightness in the chest.
  • Swelling of the tongue, lips, or face.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/15/2014.


  • American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Hives (Urticaria) Accessed 1/16/2014.
  • American Academy of Dermatology. Urticaria. Hives (also called urticaria) Accessed 1/16/2014.
  • DermNet New Zealand Trust. Angioedema Accessed 1/16/2014.
  • US Hereditary Angioedema Association. Comprehensive Angioedema Typology and Description Accessed 1/16/2014.
  • Kaplan AP. Kaplan A.P. Chapter 38. Urticaria and Angioedema. In: Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Gilchrest BA, Paller AS, Leffell DJ, Wolff K. Goldsmith L.A., Katz S.I., Gilchrest B.A., Paller A.S., Leffell D.J., Wolff K eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 8e. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. library.ccf.org Accessed 1/16/2014.

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