If you have hives, no doubt you’re wondering how long do hives last and how can you make the hives go away. We’ll try to answer both those questions for you. It’s important to understand, though, that hives – itchy red welts that may appear anywhere on the body – can be caused by many different things. How long your hives will last and the best way to make them go away will depend in part on what’s causing them in the first place.
Individual welts, or hives, usually go away in less than one day. However, as the American Academy of Dermatology explains(1), new hives may appear to take the place of those that disappear, so you may end up suffering from a case of hives for days or even weeks.
Acute hives – Most cases of hives last no longer than six weeks. This is known as acute hives. Acute hives often occur as a result of an allergic reaction to something, like food or medication, though they can be caused by other things, as well. If you’re not sure what’s causing your hives, see your doctor. If you have trouble breathing or swallowing when you have hives, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 right away.
Chronic hives – Less commonly, hives last longer than six weeks, sometimes much longer. This is known as chronic hives. Chronic hives are sometimes caused by serious illnesses, so if you experience chronic hives, you need to see a doctor to find out what’s causing them and discuss the best treatment plan for you.
In some cases, hives will go away on their own even if you do nothing. However, if you’re wondering how long hives will last, it’s probably because you’re pretty uncomfortable, if not downright miserable, and would like them to go away as fast as possible.
There are a number of medications that can be used to treat hives.
Antihistamines – These medications, available both over the counter and by prescription, relieve symptoms of allergic reactions, including hives. They are often used to treat acute hives and may also be recommended for long-term use for people with chronic hives. Antihistamines are safe for most people to use, but may cause side effects like sleepiness, dizziness, impaired coordination and blurred vision.
Steroids – Available by prescription, these medications are sometimes used short-term to relieve the swelling, inflammation and itching associated with hives. Steroids are generally only prescribed if antihistamines alone don’t do the job, and only for short periods of times, due to the risk of unwanted side effects such as anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, increased appetite, weight gain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, increased sweating, difficulty urinating and increased facial hair in women.
Other anti-inflammatory medications – Other medications may also be used to decrease redness and swelling associated with hives.
Autoimmune system medications – If antihistamines, steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications aren’t effective, doctors may prescribe autoimmune system medications to help control hives, especially chronic hives.
Epinephrine – This medication is given by injection and is typically only used when hives are accompanied by swelling in the throat, which can impair breathing. It works very quickly. It can be administered by emergency medical technicians or in emergency rooms, or you may be prescribed an epi-pen so you can administer it to yourself if you have severe allergies.
Our favorite remedy for hives is a homeopathic remedy called OxyHives. We like it because it works fast to relieve symptoms and since it’s made from natural ingredients, it shouldn’t cause side effects like sleepiness and dizziness as antihistamines can. To learn more about it and see if its right for you, follow this link to the OxyHives Website.