Authored by Revere Health

Chronic Hives Care: Knowing When and How to Soothe the Skin

June 23, 2017 | Dermatology

Chronic hives, known medically as urticaria, are a skin reaction that causes red or white itchy welts. These vary in size and can appear and fade repeatedly.

Chronic hives last at least six weeks, or recur over months or years. Much of their treatment involves finding ways to reduce symptoms and find relief, and while medications can be of some assistance, basic lifestyle changes are often a big part of successful hives management. Here are several areas you can look at to help with the treatment of chronic hives.

Keeping Moisture In

In some cases, new hives can result from people scratching their skin. A common cause of itchiness is dryness, which means that finding ways to keep moisture in the skin is important. Here are some basic tips:

  • Use mild soap that’s fragrance-free—many soaps can contribute heavily to dryness
  • Avoid hot water
  • Limit baths and showers to 10 minutes
  • Moisturize directly after bathing
  • Use a humidifier

Soothing Skin

During hive breakouts, cool compression is a great tactic to help shrink blood vessels and ease swelling. Most creams won’t have a huge effect, as hives come from a reaction inside the body, but certain anti-itch products like 1-percent menthol in aqueous cream can help with relief in some cases.

Watching Triggers

Many hive outbreaks are caused by triggers in our everyday lives. Keeping an eye out for these can help reduce outbreaks. Here are some common triggers:


  • Alcohol: Alcohol may aggravate hives and may not mix well with medications.
  • Aspirin and NSAIDs: Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen can trigger or cause hives, and you should look to acetaminophen if you require an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Heat: Try to work or sleep in a cool room, and avoid activities that can increase your temperature. Look for ways to cool affected areas, including a cool shower, fan, cooling cloth or soothing lotion.
  • Tight clothing: Clothes rubbing against hives or putting pressure on them can aggravate them. Look for loose-fitting, lightweight clothes, and stay away from wool and other itchy fabrics.



Keeping a diary of breakouts can help. Include information on what you were doing and eating before a breakout took place—this can help identify your triggers and avoid them in the future.


Know When Help is Needed

In certain cases, hives can be a sign of an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If any of the following signs appear during a hives outbreak, seek immediate medical attention:


  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in the throat or hoarse voice
  • Lip swelling
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling of doom
  • Chest pain


If you’re dealing with chronic hives, your doctor can offer specific suggestions for treatment and managing your symptoms.


As Utah County’s leading dermatology practice, Revere Health Dermatology provides the best in skin care for our patients.



“Chronic Hives: What You Can Do at Home.” WebMD.

“Chronic hives (urticaria).” The Mayo Clinic.


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.