To diagnose whether you have hives or angioedema, your doctor will likely conduct a thorough examination of the welts or swollen areas and inquire about your medical history. In some cases, allergy testing through a skin test or blood test may be necessary.
- Skin tests: Doctors will test several allergies on your skin throughout this exam. Your skin swelling or turning red indicates an allergy to that drug. A skin prick or scratch test is another name for this kind of allergy test. Skin testing is typically not performed for chronic hives.
- Blood tests: A blood test examines your blood for certain antibodies. To combat allergies, your body produces antibodies. You can have hives and swelling if your body creates too many antibodies.
If your symptoms are mild, therapy may not be necessary as angioedema and hives often resolve on their own. However, in cases of severe itching, intense discomfort, or persistent symptoms, treatment can help alleviate these issues and provide relief.
Prescription medicines may be used as treatments for angioedema and hives:
- Antihistamines. Antihistamines that don’t make you sleepy are the primary treatment for hives and angioedema. These drugs lessen swelling, itching, and other allergic symptoms. Both nonprescription and prescription versions are offered.
- Immunosuppressant. Your doctor could recommend a medication that might quiet an overactive immune system if antihistamines are ineffective.
- Drugs for hereditary angioedema. If you have the inherited form of angioedema, you may be prescribed medicine to treat your symptoms and maintain blood levels of specific proteins that do not produce symptoms.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs. A brief course of an oral corticosteroid medication, such as prednisone, may be prescribed by doctors for severe hives or angioedema to lessen swelling, inflammation, and itching.
In the event of a severe case of hives or angioedema, it may be necessary to visit the emergency hospital and receive an emergency injection of epinephrine. Your doctor might recommend carrying an epinephrine auto-injector, a pen-like device that allows you to self-administer epinephrine during emergencies, especially if you have experienced a significant attack or if your attacks persist despite treatment.