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Hives (Urticaria) Treatments Include:


Hives (urticaria) is a very common and often temporary skin condition that can appear in both adults and children. It can be acute, which means it appears once; or chronic, which means it is recurring multiple times over 6 weeks or more. The cause of hives is the immune system releasing histamine into the skin, resulting in redness, swelling and itching. It may recede quickly—within minutes to hours—or take up to 24 hours before it disappears altogether. Nevertheless, hives are rarely serious in nature and easily treated.

Alternative names: Urticaria, welts, wheals, nettle rash.


Hives are a common skin condition caused by an allergic reaction that can appear anywhere on the body. Yet, it’s often difficult to pinpoint an exact trigger since it can be related to various conditions ranging from environmental temperature changes to emotion stress and food. Idiopathic urticaria occurs when no cause has been identified, although some people may experience hives due to tight clothing, exercise, infections or illnesses. On average, those with allergies are more vulnerable to experiencing hives as well as other health issues at higher rates. Although the rash appears similar for most cases of hives, being aware of both known and potential causes is key in finding ways to reduce the risk of developing them in the future.


Hives usually appears as a series of raised, red bumps that come up within minutes and can resemble mosquito bites or nettle rash. It can be limited to a small area or span large expanses of the body. Sometimes there is swelling of the face and eyes (angio-oedema). The rash often resolves over a period of an hour or two, but might last as long as 24 to 36 hours. There are a number of different types of Hives:

Hives can be caused by an allergic reaction to a common irritant you may be sensitive to such as foods, animal fur, medications, pollen, and insect bites.

If the source of hives can’t be identified and the hives are seen for long periods of time, they are known as chronic and idiopathic. About 75% if hives cases are idiopathic which can make them harder to treat and symptoms are experienced for longer.

Changes in temperature caused by cold or hot weather, water, sunlight and exercise can cause hives in some people.


Acute urticaria resolves itself in the majority of cases with little to no medical intervention, making antihistamines an important first line of defence to relieve itching and other symptoms. Long-term urticaria is far more complex and stubborn, medications play a more significant role in its treatment. Identifying potential triggers though it can help to contextualise the flare-ups, it cannot be said that a single offender can be found in most cases. Antihistamines can provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms but if a patient’s condition is severe or chronic, treatments designed to dampen their immune system such as ciclosporin might be beneficial. Patients can rest assured that our experienced dermatologists are able to offer them effective treatment plan to help manage their symptoms and increase the quality of life.


If you are suffering from a hives rash, the following can help to alleviate symptoms:

  • Put a cold compress on the rash
  • Take a cool bath
  • Apply aloe vera
  • Avoid irritants
  • Avoid scratching the rash as this can cause them to spread and become more inflamed

In acute cases, the rash will appear suddenly and then fade away on it’s own, usually within 24-48 hours. In chronic cases of hives, the rash can last for much longer, often weeks or months. If your rash is persisting it is a good idea to see a dermatologist who can assess your condition and advise the most appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of Hives include:

  • Red, raised patches on the skin
  • Rash of red spots
  • Itchy rash
  • Rash that feels like it is stinging or burning
  • Different size and shapes of rash
  • Rashes can appear anywhere on the body in both adults and children

Hives can be caused by a trigger that causes high levels of histamine to be realised to the skin, common triggers include:

  • Food
  • Pollen
  • Plants
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Chemicals (often in cleaning products)
  • Latex
  • Dust mites
  • Heat
  • Sunlight
  • Exercise/Sweat
  • Medicines
  • Infections
  • Emotional Stress


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What our Customers Say


Hives are an extremely common skin condition and we understand the impact that severe rashes can have on daily life. Here at Kent’s leading private skin and laser clinic, our experts are specialists in all aspects of dermatology, skin cancer, anti-ageing and beauty treatments. We are one of the few skin clinics in the UK where all medical consultations and treatments are provided by specialist doctors with Dermatology experience and laser training.

Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, ensuring the best level of treatment is provided to you in a safe environment. Our Clinical Lead Dr Mark Hudson-Peacock is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Laser Medical Association, the British Hair and Nail Society, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and is certified by the Consulting Room. We have won many awards including the WhatClinic Patient Service Award in 2019 and the ghp Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2019.



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