You'll probably first visit your primary care doctor. But he or she may then refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases (dermatologist) or to an allergy specialist.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For chronic hives, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- How long will these hives last?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Do these treatments have any side effects?
- Do I need prescription medication, or can I use over-the-counter medications to treat the condition?
- Does the medicine you're prescribing me have a generic version?
- I have other health problems. Is the treatment you recommend compatible with those conditions?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions such as:
- What symptoms do you have, and when did you first begin experiencing them?
- Do you have tightness in your chest or throat, nausea, or difficulty breathing?
- Have you had any viral or bacterial infections recently?
- What medications, herbal remedies and supplements do you take?
- Have you tried any new foods recently?
- Have you traveled to a new place?
- Do you have a family history of hives or angioedema?
- What, if anything, appears to improve or worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If you're experiencing mild hives, these tips may help relieve your symptoms:
June 13, 2014
- Avoid irritating the affected areas.
- Cool the affected area with a shower, fan, cool cloth or soothing lotion.
- Wear loose, light clothing.
- Use over-the-counter antihistamines to help relieve the itching.
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- Neuropsychiatric events with certain asthma drugs. FDA Patient Safety News: Show #89, August 2009. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/psn/printer.cfm?id=1050. Accessed Feb. 6, 2014.
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