The welts associated with hives can be:
- Red or flesh-colored
- Intensely itchy
- Roughly oval or shaped like a worm
- A few millimeters to several inches across
Most hives go away within 24 hours. Chronic hives can last for months or years.
Angioedema is a reaction similar to hives that affects deeper layers of your skin. It most commonly appears around your eyes, cheeks or lips. Angioedema and hives can occur separately or at the same time.
Signs and symptoms of angioedema include:
- Large, thick, firm welts
- Swelling and redness
- Pain or warmth in the affected areas
When to see a doctor
You can usually treat mild cases of hives or angioedema at home. See your doctor if your symptoms continue for more than a few days. Seek emergency care if you feel your throat is swelling or if you're having trouble breathing.
Feb. 14, 2014
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Bingham CO. New onset urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Bingham CO. An overview of angioedema: Clinical features, diagnosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.