Hives and Angioedema Treatment
Call 911 if the person has:
- Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including:
Difficulty breathing or wheezingTightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closingHoarseness or trouble speakingSwollen lips, tongue, or throatNausea, abdominal pain, or vomitingFast heartbeat or pulseAnxiety or dizzinessLoss of consciousness
- Had severe reactions in the past
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, infection, 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.