Can Hives Be a Sign of Something Serious?

 Can Hives Be a Sign of Something Serious?

When you're dealing with hives, it can be tough to tell if they're a sign of something more serious. If you're not sure whether hives on skin are indicative of a larger problem, here are a few signs that it's time to seek medical attention for this condition.

What Causes Hives?

Before we dive into what qualifies as a serious case of hives, it's important to understand what causes hives in the first place. While it would be nice to have one solid answer, the truth is that there are a whole bunch of things that could be responsible for hives on your skin. One of the most likely culprits for hives is stress. Stress hives, as the name suggests, are the result of high stress levels. Fortunately, they'll usually clear up when stress levels decrease. Other common causes of hives include allergic reactions to foods or other substances, tight clothing, contact dermatitis, and even exercise. It's also possible that an underlying medical condition is causing your hives. If you can figure out what the cause behind your hives is, you'll have a better chance of determining whether or not you need immediate medical assistance. But if you're not sure what's causing your hives, here are a few signs that it's time to see your doctor.

Your Symptoms Persist for More Than a Few Days

In most cases, hives will go away on their own in a matter of hours. In some cases, hives might persist for a day or two if the underlying cause isn't removed from the equation or your skin is particularly sensitive. But if your hives are persisting for more than a few days, it's time to go see your doctor. Not only are persistent hives aggravating to deal with at home, but they could be the result of an underlying medical condition or an unknown allergy. If you're in this situation, your doctor will likely want to run a few allergy tests to determine whether there's an irritant that needs to be removed from your environment. In addition, they'll likely be able to prescribe hives treatment that can help mitigate your symptoms. In the event that there is an underlying medical condition at play, it's important that you follow your doctor's instructions and undergo the necessary treatment.

You're Having Trouble Breathing

If your hives are accompanied by symptoms like difficulty breathing, do not wait to seek medical attention. This side effect accompanying your hives could be an early sign of an anaphylactic reaction. It's possible for this to happen if you've unknowingly come into contact with a food or environmental irritant that you're allergic to. Other signs to look for if you suspect your hives are an early sign of anaphylactic shock include swelling in the lips, tongue, or mouth. Any of these symptoms should prompt you to seek immediate medical care for your condition.


Dealing with hives can be a hassle, but it's important to know when to seek immediate medical attention for this skin rash. If you frequently deal with hives and aren't sure what's causing them, set up a consultation with our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.

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