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Hives

Hives rashes usually settle down within a few minutes to a few days. You can often treat hives yourself.

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 feels like it's stinging or burning.

If you're not sure it's hives

Look at other rashes in babies and children.

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

Tell the pharmacist if you have a long-term condition – you might not be able to take antihistamines.

They also may not be suitable for young children.

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 skin specialist (dermatologist).

You get hives when something causes high levels of histamine and other chemicals to be released in your skin. This is known as a trigger.

Triggers can include:

  • eating certain foods
  • contact with certain plants, animals, chemicals and 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.