Preparing for your appointment

You'll probably first visit your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases (dermatologist) or to an allergy specialist.

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 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?