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    Hives and Angioedema Treatment

    Call 911 if the person has:

    • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
    • Tightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closing
    • Hoarseness or trouble speaking
    • Swollen lips, tongue, or throat
    • Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting
    • Fast heartbeat or pulse
    • Anxiety or dizziness
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Had severe reactions in the past

    Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), including:

    If the person has an epinephrine injection kit (Auvi-Q or Epi Pen)available, do not hesitate to use the epinephrine auto-injector, even if those symptoms do not appear to be allergy-related. Using the pen as a precaution is safe and could save his or her life.

    See Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment.

    1. Avoid the Trigger

    • Hives and angioedema that happen suddenly are usually triggered by an allergic reaction to a food, drug, or insect bite or sting.
    • If you know what the trigger is, keep the person away from it.

    2. Control Itching and Swelling

    • Give an adult an over-the-counter antihistamine. Check with a doctor before giving an antihistamine to a child.
    • Put a cool compress on the area or have the person take a cool shower.
    • Avoid strong soaps, detergents, and other chemicals that can make itching worse.

    3. Follow Up

    • It may take several days for the trigger substance to leave the body. Continue treatment until symptoms subside.
    • If symptoms persist, or to help identify the allergen that caused the hives, see a doctor.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on November 27, 2015

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