Hives (Urticaria) and Swelling (Angioedema)

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Hives are red, itchy, raised areas of the skin and can affect children as well as adults. Rashes can range in size from small bumps to large welts, and can appear anywhere on your body. Typically, hives come and go over several hours.

Angioedema is a swelling of the deeper layers of the skin. Swelling might occur with hives, but may not be as red or feel itchy. Angioedema (swelling) may take up to one or two days to completely resolve, and often involves the eyelids, lips, tongue, hands and feet.

Common triggers of hives and angioedema include

  • Foods, such as nuts, shellfish, fish and seeds
  • Medications, such as antibiotics or pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen or naprosyn)
  • Stress
  • Infections (sinusitis, urinary tract infections)
  • Insect stings
  • Prolonged pressure of the skin, as experienced with tight fitting garments or jewelry
  • Sudden change in body temperature, with exposure to heat or cold

Allergy testing and a thorough history of events can help identify and avoid triggers of this itchy, re-occuring rash.
When to get help:

  • When single, isolated lesions/rashes lasts more than one day or leaves a “stain” in the skin
  • If you are experiencing other symptoms with the hives, such as fever, trouble breathing, gastro-intestinal symptoms, lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Medications used to treat hives are no longer working
  • When swelling occurs without hives
  • Hives and/or swelling reoccurs for more than 4 weeks