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Hives and angioedema

Hives and angioedema

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Hives, also known as urticaria, are reddened, itchy welts that may be triggered by substances or situations, such as heat, exercise and stress.

Chronic hives appear daily or almost daily for six weeks or more.

Hives — also known as urticaria (ur-tih-KAR-e-uh) — is a skin reaction that causes itchy welts, which can range in size from small spots to large blotches several inches in diameter. Hives can be triggered by exposure to certain foods, medications or other substances.

Angioedema is a related type of swelling that affects deeper layers in your skin, often around your face and lips. In most cases, hives and angioedema are harmless and don’t leave any lasting marks, even without treatment.

The most common treatment for hives and angioedema is antihistamine medication. Serious angioedema can be life-threatening if swelling causes your throat or tongue to block your airway.

Angioedema may cause large welts below the surface of the skin, particularly on the eyes and lips. Angioedema may also affect the hands, feet and throat.

The welts associated with hives can be:

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

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.

Hives and angioedema can be caused by:

Hives and angioedema are common. You may be at increased risk of hives and angioedema if you:

Severe angioedema can be life-threatening if swelling causes your throat or tongue to block your airway.

To lower your likelihood of experiencing hives or angioedema, take the following precautions:

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Hives and angioedema

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