What to Know About Hives that Come and Go Daily

Medically Reviewed By Darragh O'Carroll, MD

Hives that come and go daily for 6 weeks or more are known as chronic hives. The exact cause of chronic hives is unknown, although some factors, such as allergies, physical irritation, and autoimmune conditions, may trigger them. Hive episodes that last less than 6 weeks are known as acute hives. If hives develop as soon as previous ones disappear for 6 weeks or longer, you may have chronic hives.

Chronic hives aren’t a lifelong condition, but they can last for weeks, months, or years.

Doctors can provide treatment to help alleviate symptoms. If you have hive episodes that last a long time or go away and then return, talk with a doctor.

This article discusses hives that come and go daily, including their causes, triggers, treatment, and outlook.

Key facts about hives that come and go daily

  • Hives that come and go daily for 6 weeks or more are considered chronic hives.
  • The cause of chronic hives is unknown, but certain triggers may contribute to flare-ups.
  • Symptoms of chronic hives that come and go daily can include bumps or patches on the skin that are raised and itchy.
  • Treatment approaches for hives that come and go daily include antihistamines, steroid ointments, and avoiding irritation.

What causes hives that come and go daily?

Someone with a rash on their stomach places their hands on their skin.
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If you have hives that come and go daily, you probably have chronic hives.

They develop when the immune system releases an inflammatory chemical called histamine in response to a trigger. This can lead to swelling and skin irritation.

Doctors are unsure what causes chronic hives. If they cannot determine a cause, they may refer to the condition as chronic idiopathic hives.

Read about what causes unexpected hives.

Triggers

Some triggers linked to hives include:

However, typically, chronic hives don’t have an identifiable trigger.

Learn more about hives, including their triggers and appearance.

What are the symptoms of chronic hives?

Symptoms of hives include:

  • raised bumps on the skin
  • raised patches of skin
  • itchiness
  • a feeling of stinging or burning
  • skin discoloration

Hives can vary in size and shape from a few millimeters to several inches.

During hive flare-ups, each individual hive may appear and disappear within 24 hours. However, new bumps may appear as soon as others go away.

Some people may also experience a pause in symptoms, whereby the hives go away completely for a while and then return later. This can happen repeatedly for years.

When should I see a doctor for chronic hives?

Contact a doctor if you have persistent hives that concern you or appear alongside other symptoms.

Sometimes, serious allergic reactions can trigger hives. Call 911 or your local emergency services if you have hives and experience any of the following symptoms:

See more about when to contact a doctor for hives.

How are chronic hives diagnosed?

To start the diagnostic process, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and check your skin.

Doctors may also take blood samples to look for Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source signs of inflammation, infection, and underlying conditions. This can help identify any underlying causes or rule out conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Allergy patch tests can also help identify whether allergies may play a role in your symptoms.

To help identify possible triggers, your doctor may recommend that you keep a symptom diary. Keeping a record of your activity, diet, and other potential exposures to triggers and noting your symptoms can help identify possible links and reactions.

What is the treatment for chronic hives?

Chronic hives can last up to several years and may cause uncomfortable symptoms and affect your quality of life. Also, the underlying cause of chronic hives is often unknown.

As a result, treatment mainly focuses on alleviating symptoms.

Treatment options for chronic hives include:

Always talk with a doctor or pharmacist before trying a new medication or remedy, even if it is available over the counter.

How can I manage chronic hives?

The following self-care approaches may help alleviate symptoms of chronic hives:

  • asking a pharmacist for advice on anti-itching lotions or ointments
  • applying a cool compress
  • taking a colloidal oatmeal bath
  • wearing loose, breathable, soft clothes
  • using skin products that are unscented or labeled for sensitive skin
  • avoiding scratching as much as possible

Will chronic hives go away?

Chronic hives eventually go away Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source on their own.

However, they can last several years. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) suggests that chronic hives can last over 1 year.

Treatment can help alleviate symptoms while you wait for hives to go away.

Summary

Chronic hives come and go daily for 6 weeks or more. The exact cause of chronic hives is unknown, but factors such as allergies, physical irritation, and autoimmune conditions may trigger episodes.

Chronic hives eventually go away on their own, but this might take weeks, months, or years.

Treatments such as antihistamines, ointments, and immunosuppressant medications may help reduce hives or alleviate symptoms.

Talk with your doctor if you have persistent hives that affect your daily life or appear alongside other symptoms.

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Medical Reviewer: Darragh O'Carroll, MD
Last Review Date: 2023 Dec 22
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