Hives (Urticaria)

Hives are relatively common and can be a result of several conditions. Most often, hives occur due to allergic reactions and will subside quickly with simple home remedies. However, some patients may also suffer from chronic hives which last for extended periods of time or subside and return frequently. Whether you want to learn more about treating occasional hives at home or you are seeking relief from chronic hives, a qualified dermatologist can help. Dr. Liz Damstetter and the Reserve Dermatology team understand the causes, symptoms, and best treatment options for hives. Patients in Glenview, Illinois and the surrounding area can turn to Reserve Dermatology to restore healthy skin and relieve symptoms.

What are Hives?

Hives are itchy red welts that develop on the skin due to an irritant, allergic reaction, or as a symptom of another condition. Dermatologists may refer to hives as urticaria. When hives last for over six weeks or recur frequently, the condition is considered chronic.


“I had a recent visit to Dr Damstetter’s clinic and would like to share my experience. I am a Navy vet(corpsman) and usually get seen at the VA but since we don’t have a Derm provider right now, I was fortunately sent out to her clinic to be evaluated. It’s a nice clinic in a nice area and was relatively easy to find. A pleasant Ms. Nancy at the front desk was helpful in completing the check-in process. Easy day. I did not have to wait long and was soon met by Dr. Damstetter’s assistant, who for classified reasons I will refer to as “Agent 8”. I am sure if she gets tired of providing excellent medical care, her slick-ninja skillset could get her a job with the CIA or MI6 maybe. Short story long, Agent 8 brought me back to the patient area, where I was introduced to Dr Damstetter, who was all the things you would want in a doctor: a knowledgeable provider with a great bedside manner. She gave me a thorough exam which did end up showing that I needed a minor procedure. No worries. I felt well taken care of throughout my visit. No one likes to have to see the doctor, but if you have a dermatological concern, this is a good place with good people who did great by me, and I am thankful to have been sent here.”

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

What Causes Hives?

The most common causes for hives are allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders, or mast cell activation due to side effects from medication, foods, or emotional stress. Hives are caused when the mast cells and basophils within the skin release histamine, resulting in swelling and rashes. Hives are a common symptom of allergic contact dermatitis, which can be caused by exposure to triggers like plants, certain metals, cleaning products, cosmetics, and more.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

Urticaria Symptoms

The primary symptom of hives is an itchy welt which may be red or the same color as your skin tone. These welts can vary in size and shape and appear virtually anywhere on the body. Typically, patients will see several welts grouped closely together in the same area. They may also fade over time before reappearing. Hives also cause itching, which can be severe. Some patients may also face swelling, especially of the lips, eyelids, or throat. Hives may be triggered by or grow more severe due to heat, stress, or exercise.

Treatment Options for Hives

In some cases, Dr. Damstetter may recommend a skin test or blood test to diagnose hives and rule out other conditions. However, most cases of hives can be diagnosed by simply reviewing your medical history and conducting a visual examination.

In most cases, over-the-counter medications and home remedies are sufficient in treating hives. Antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), or cetirizine (Zyrtec) are usually successful in relieving symptoms of hives. Dr. Damstetter can also give you instructions to care for your skin, such as applying cold compresses, to relieve swelling or other symptoms.

For chronic hives that do not respond to over-the-counter medications, Dr. Damstetter can prescribe other medications or ointments. The best option for you will vary, and Dr. Damstetter can explain an appropriate treatment plan during your appointment.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about hives and find an effective treatment to relieve your symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter. Call Reserve Dermatology in Glenview, Illinois or contact us online.

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