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
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.
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.