Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Chronic Hivesby Eileen Bailey Health Writer
Chronic hives can be a confusing condition. Sometimes they are caused by an underlying autoimmune disorder, but other times there is no apparent cause.
You can manage hives
Even when the cause isn’t known, there are ways you can manage your hives. Talk to your doctor about treatments and lifestyle changes. Here are questions to ask your doctor.
Am I allergic to something? Chronic hives aren’t usually caused by an allergy, but it is important to rule out allergic reactions.
Do I have an autoimmune disorder? Chronic hives can sometimes be a result of an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus. It’s important to know if you have an autoimmune disorder — and which one — so you can receive the proper treatment.
How long will I have hives? If your doctor isn’t sure what is causing your hives, there is a good chance he won’t know the answer, but he should be able to give you an idea of what to expect, based on your health history.
Will they keep coming back? If your hives return, your doctor can work with you in developing a treatment plan to help manage your hives and reduce the frequency and severity.
What are common triggers? Everyone will have different triggers. Your doctor might ask you to keep a diary to find out what your triggers are. Some common triggers include stress, a sudden change of temperature, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, intense exercise and hormonal changes.
Are there complications I should watch for? Most people don’t have serious complications, but some people can develop angioedema. Your doctor can tell you about symptoms of angioedema to watch for and discuss what symptoms warrant calling his office immediately.
Are there home remedies? Some people find relief using natural or home remedies, but these also have the potential to irritate your skin or cause a reaction. It is always important to discuss any home remedies with your doctor before trying them.
Are there lifestyle changes I should make that can help reduce the hives? Your doctor might be able to suggest lifestyle changes based on your individual situation. Some common lifestyle changes include stress reduction, avoiding certain foods, wearing comfortable clothing, and avoiding harsh soap and detergents.
What can I do to relieve the itching and burning? An overall treatment plan to manage chronic hives is important, but many people take a cool bath with colloidal oatmeal, use cold compresses, over-the-counter itch relief or a baking soda paste applied to the skin. Your doctor might have additional ideas for relieving the itch.