Once in a while, you may get hives, a super-itchy, red skin rash that crops up out of nowhere. In fact, up to 20% of people will get hives at some point in their lives. Your doctor will refer to them by their medical name, urticaria. You might also hear them called welts.
But about 30% of people get hives that keep coming back, again and again. The welts can stick around for weeks or even years. Hives become chronic when the outbreaks last for more than 6 weeks.
Chronic hives can:
- Crop up on your skin anywhere on your body.
- Itch, sting, or burn.
- Come in different sizes or change shape.
- Appear suddenly and move around, disappear, or reappear over short periods of time.
- Look like reddish or skin-colored bumps.
- Affect women more often than men.
- Cause your eyelids, lips, or throat to swell. This is called angioedema.
- Flare up as a response to a trigger, which isn’t always known.