Hives rashes usually settle down within a few minutes to a few days. You can often treat hives yourself.

Check if you have hives

A pharmacist can help with hives

Your pharmacist can give you advice about antihistamine tablets to bring down your hives rash.

Tell your pharmacist if you have a long-term condition – you might not be able to take antihistamines.

They also may not be suitable for young children.

See a GP if:

  • the symptoms don’t improve after 2 days
  • you’re worried about your child’s hives
  • the rash is spreading
  • your hives keep coming back – you may be allergic to something
  • you also have a high temperature and feel generally unwell
  • you also have swelling under the skin – this might be angioedema

Treatment from a GP

Your GP may prescribe corticosteroids, menthol cream or stronger antihistamines.

If your hives don’t go away with treatment, you may be referred to a skin specialist (dermatologist).

You can’t always prevent hives

Hives occur when something causes high levels of histamine and other chemicals to be released in the skin. This is known as a trigger.

Triggers can include:

  • food
  • pollen and plants
  • insect bites and stings
  • chemicals
  • latex
  • dust mites
  • heat – work and sleep in a cool room and wear loose, lightweight clothes
  • sunlight, exercise or water
  • medicines – speak to your GP if you have an allergic reaction
  • infections
  • emotional stress