Hives Overview

Chronic Hives

Chronic hives can be a real trial to people who suffer from them. Not only do chronic hives last for more than six weeks, they can last for months or even years. And even if they do go away, they're not necessarily gone forever. In fact, estimates say that 40 percent of people with chronic hives will have at least one more outbreak in their lives [source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology]. What's even more perplexing is that in more than 80 percent of cases, the cause of chronic hives is never discovered [source: Cleveland Clinic].

Even so, there are some tests you can take to try to solve the mystery of your chronic hives. As with acute hives, your doctor can order blood and allergy tests to determine a cause. Additional tests might be necessary to rule out any underlying conditions, such as thyroid disease, that could be causing your hives [source: Mayo Clinic].

If your doctor can't find the cause of your chronic hives, then the treatment will become more about managing your symptoms than about finding a cure [source: Saini]. You will probably start out by trying some of the oral antihistamines that typically are used to treat acute hives. If they don't work, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants or a combination of antihistamines and H2 antagonists. The immune suppressant cyclosporine, the allergic asthma medication omalizumab and leukotriene receptor antagonists are currently being studied as potential treatments for chronic hives [source: Mayo Clinic].

Whether your hives are chronic or acute, you don't have to endure them alone. If you're suffering from hives, make an appointment with a doctor who can help you identify causes and treatments that will work for you.

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