Hives (urticaria) are itchy red bumps that develop on the skin. They can be small (like the tip of your pinky) or very large. (Large hives are usually a grouping of smaller hives that have run together to form a large red welt called a “plaque.”)

Hives often form near the face and throat, but they can develop anywhere on the body.  Hives are characterized according to their longevity as either acute or chronic.  Acute hives go away in less than six weeks.  Chronic hives last beyond that, either without interruptions or in recurring break-outs.

Angioedema is like hives but occurs beneath the surface of the skin and manifests through swelling instead of the hives-like rash.  Angioedema can cause deep swelling around the eyes and mouth (including the tongue and throat). The swelling from angioedema generally subsides within 24 hours.

Managing angioedema:

Hives and angioedema may occur together and are often allergy-related.  There are several options for managing the symptoms of hives and angioedema.  Prescription creams and medications such as antihistamines and steroids therapy can help with the symptoms.  The drawback to medications is that they do not get to the heart of the problem.

If your hives or angioedema are long-lasting or keep returning, a more permanent solution may be recommended such as allergy immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy can be offered through shots or, more conveniently and safely, through sublingual (under-the-tongue) immunotherapy that can be taken at home.  To find a clinic in your area that offers sublingual immunotherapy for hives and angioedema, contact AllergyEasy.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.