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Our expert physicians specialize in the treatment of allergy, food allergy, asthma, and sinus problems, as well as other conditions, such as hay fever, hives, eczema, contact dermatitis, insect allergies, drug reactions, anaphylaxis, and immune deficiency conditions.

Hives have been referred to as welts, nettle rash, and, by physicians, urticaria.  They are raised areas of your skin that are warm, very itchy and red.  They can suddenly appear anywhere on the body and last a few hours or as long as 48 hours, with new hives popping up frequently.  Lesions that are painful/tender and last for greater than 48 hours should be thought of as separate from hives. New hives can appear as others disappear, giving the impression of persistent lesions.  Individual hives are irregularly shaped and are the size of a dime or nickel, though they often form clusters making larger lesions.  Approximately one in five people will develop hives in their lifetime.  Hives can be divided into two groups, acute vs. chronic:

Acute - less than 6 weeks in duration

  • daily until resolve spontaneously
  • can be accompanied by swelling of lips, eyes, hands or feet (angioedema)
  • allergy is a likely cause, think new drug, food, insect sting or infection
  • treat with antihistamines, if severe may need prednisone

Chronic - greater than 6 weeks

  • can be daily or intermittent
  • about 50% of patients will also have facial, hands, or feet swelling (angioedema)
  • rarely due to allergies
  • treat with high dose antihistamines, try to avoid steroids, prolonged cases may require injectable drug, Xolair