Physical exam and medical history
Your doctor will ask you a number of questions and do a physical exam. Your doctor may also ask you to keep a diary to keep track of:
- Your activities
- Any medications or herbal supplements you take
- What you eat and drink
- Where hives appear and how long individual hives last
Although it isn't always possible to determine the underlying cause of chronic hives, your doctor will want to learn as much as possible about what might be causing your symptoms. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may order one or more tests, including:
Sep. 17, 2011
- Blood tests. Your doctor may ask for blood tests to check for levels and function of specific blood cells and proteins.
- Allergy tests. Your doctor may use skin or blood tests to see whether your hives may be caused by an allergic reaction, especially if the hives seem related to specific triggers.
- Tests to rule out underlying conditions. You may need additional tests to make certain your hives are not caused by an underlying health condition, such as hepatitis, lupus or thyroid disease.
- Hives. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/hives. Accessed April 3, 2011.
- All about hives (urticaria). American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/skin-allergies/hives/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed April 3, 2011.
- Khan DA. Chronic urticaria: Standard management and patient education. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 9, 2011.
- Kaplan AP. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, NY.: The McGraw-Hill Companies. 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2958607&searchStr=urticaria#2958607. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Kropfl L, et al. Treatment strategies in urticaria. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2010;11:1445.
- Bingham CO. New onset urticaria: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and etiologies. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 9, 2011.
- Limsuwan T, et al. Acute symptoms of drug hypersensitivity (Urticaria, angioedema, anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock). The Medical Clinics of North America. 2010;94:691.
- Hives: Tips for managing. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/hives/tips/hives-tips-for-managing. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Peroni A, et al. Urticarial lesions: If not urticaria, what else? The differential diagnoses of urticaria. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;62:557.
- Bingham CO. New onset urticaria: Diagnosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 9, 2011.
- FDA requests labeling change for leukotriene modifiers. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2009/ucm166293.htm. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Immunosuppressant drugs: Required labeling changes. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm171828.htm. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Urticaria treatment. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/skin-allergies/hives/Pages/urticaria-hives-treatment.aspx. Accessed April 8, 2011.