Chronic Hives

Let's Talk About Chronic Hives

We've got the doctor-approved details on causes, symptoms, treatments, and a jillion other facts and tips that can make life with chronic hives (CIU) easier.

    Our Pro PanelChronic Hives

    We went to some of the nation’s top CIU experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Morgan Rabach, M.D.

    Morgan Rabach, M.D.Clinical Instructor in the Department of Dermatology

    Mount Sinai Hospital
    New York, NY
    Purvi Parikh, M.D.

    Purvi Parikh, M.D.Adult and Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist

    NYU Langone Health
    New York City
    Sheel Desai Solomon, M.D.

    Sheel Desai Solomon, M.D.Dermatologist

    Preston Dermatology
    Cary, NC
    Chronic hives statistics: rate of women with CIU compared to men, age when people develop symptoms of CIU, number of Americans with CIU, percentage of people who get hives, percentage of people who get chronic hives
    Nikki Cagle
    Treatments for chronic hives include antihistamines, histamine blockers, steroids, and monoclonal antibodies
    Nikki Cagle
    Tips for living with chronic hives include: track what you eat and drink, use products for sensitive skin, keep cool, prepare for pregnancy changes, and be mindful about mental health
    Nikki Cagle

    Frequently Asked QuestionsChronic Hives

    How long do hives last?

    Each breakout of CIU will last for a minimum of six weeks, and hives can come and go for anywhere from one to five years. Even after your hives clear, it’s not unusual to experience a recurrence, months or even years later. CIU can stop spontaneously and reappear without warning. There is no pattern to it, so a recurrence after years of being in remission is not uncommon.

    Are chronic hives contagious?

    No. This skin condition is neither contagious nor is it dangerous. Some types of skin rashes can spread from person to person upon skin contact; CIU is not one of them. In general, CIU is more uncomfortable and distressing than anything. However, an outbreak on the tongue or throat can become more serious, so see your doctor to ensure that it doesn’t inhibit your breathing or raise your blood pressure.

    Is a CIU flare-up caused by an allergic reaction?

    Occasionally, but not usually. Unlike acute hives that are usually triggered by food, plant, or environmental allergies, CIU is not always provoked by the same thing. The exact cause of chronic hives cannot be identified, and doctors say that only a small percentage are likely due to allergies.

    Can you prevent CIU?

    Not usually. With no definitive triggers to account for the majority CIU breakouts, it’s difficult to fully understand what lifestyle changes may help you avoid them. This makes prevention a bit tricky, although certain lifestyle changes may help you manage symptoms.

    Nykia Spradley

    Nykia Spradley


    Nykia Spradley is a beauty and wellness writer whose work has been published by ESSENCE, Cosmopolitan, Oprah Magazine and more.