Hives treatment available online today

In order to treat your hives, consult with one of our board-certified primary care doctors online today to discuss medications for relief from itching. Get a new prescription to treat hives or refill an existing prescription today.*

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Same-day appointments to evaluate Hive symptoms

Relieve swelling and itching

Effective prescriptions to treat Hives

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of hives. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about hives

Hives, also called urticaria, is a skin reaction that causes itchy bumps or raised patches to suddenly appear on the skin. They usually happen when your body has an allergic reaction to an allergen. Hives can also occur due to an autoimmune condition and systemic disease.

There are two types of hives: acute hives and chronic hives. While acute hives usually clear up within 24 hours, chronic hives last for more than 6 weeks. Sometimes, chronic hives can return for months or years.

Hives causes

  • In most cases, hives are caused by an allergic reaction to an allergen. When your body comes into contact with an allergen, your immune system releases histamines—chemical signals made by specialized immune cells in your body produced to get rid of an allergen.

    During allergic reactions, the body may respond to the histamines with hives and swelling. Most hives clear up within 24 hours, but acute hives can sometimes turn into a chronic issue (chronic urticaria).

    Common allergens include antibiotics and other medications, poison ivy and poison oak plants, bug bites, certain foods, environmental pollens, dust, mold and pet dander.

    The skin reaction can also be triggered by:

    • Heat or cold

    • Sunlight

    • Pressure on the skin from tight clothing, belts, or sock bands

    • Stress

    • Medical conditions, such as infections, autoimmune conditions, or systemic diseases

Hives symptoms

  • The symptoms of hives may vary from person to person depending on the severity of an allergic reaction. The most noticeable symptom of hives is raised welts that appear on the skin. Welts can be red, or they may appear the same color as your skin.

    Hives can be small and round, ring-shaped, or large and randomly shaped. They're often itchy, and they tend to appear in patches over the affected area. You might also notice your hives growing larger, changing shape, or spreading to different areas. Some people notice a phenomenon called “dermatographism“ which means if they draw lines or write on their skin with a fingertip or pencil, within a few minutes hives will appear where the writing was done.

    Hives may disappear or reappear over the course of an allergic reaction. Most hives clear up within 24 hours. Hives often briefly turn white when pressed, and they may form together to create a larger skin rash.

    Hives can occur anywhere on the body. Seek emergency care or call 911 if hives occur around your throat or tongue, or if you have difficulty breathing along with severe hives.

How to treat hives

If you have hives, the first step to getting treatment is to receive an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose hives from a thorough history and physical exam. If you schedule an online appointment, your doctor can diagnose hives through video consultation, and if you upload pictures of your rash through the app prior to your appointment, this makes it even easier to get an accurate diagnosis

Your doctor may recommend blood tests to determine the cause of your hives, especially if the cause of the hives is unclear.

Hives usually don't require prescription treatment unless they're caused by an allergy or medical condition. If needed, your doctor can prescribe hives treatment online for allergies or related health problems.

If you're experiencing a mild skin reaction, your doctor may recommend:

  • Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications, such as oral or topical diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra), or cetirizine (Zyrtec).

  • Avoiding irritating the area

  • Avoiding hot water, which may further irritate your skin

  • Taking a lukewarm bath with colloidal oatmeal, also known as over the counter oatmeal bath powder, or baking soda

Hives medications

In most cases, acute hives go away on their own without treatment. However, your doctor may recommend medications for hives if they're caused by allergies or health problems. Effective medications for hives include:

  • Allergy medications

    Antihistamine medications block histamine's effects on your body, relieve itching, and prevent allergic reactions from happening. Fast-acting antihistamines can help you reduce allergy symptoms. If you have a recurrent allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend a daily over-the-counter or prescription medication.

  • Allergy shots

    For chronic urticaria, your in-person Allergist doctor may recommend monthly injections of omalizumab (Xolair). Allergy shots block your body's allergy antibodies from causing allergic reactions. These can not be prescribed by our online board-certified primary care doctors.

  • Epinephrine

    Severe allergic reactions and swelling can lead to anaphylaxis, a threatening medical condition. If you experience severe reactions, your doctor may prescribe an epinephrine injection (EpiPen) to keep on hand in case of a sudden and severe allergic reaction to prevent swelling of the airway while you seek emergency care

  • Oral steroids

    When all else fails, corticosteroids such as prednisone can help relieve itching, swelling, and other uncomfortable symptoms of hives.

How to prevent hives

In most cases, simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent hives from recurring. If you have allergies, take steps to identify your triggers. When you know what substances are likely to cause a severe allergic reaction, you can avoid possible exposure to those substances.

Some common triggers of hives include:

  • Certain foods, such as peanuts, eggs, and shellfish

  • Medications, such as antibiotics, aspirin, and ibuprofen

  • Insect bites or stings

  • Sudden increases or decreases in body temperature due to showers, sweating, or anxiety

  • Pet dander, pollen, and plants

When to see a doctor for hives

In addition to hives, some people develop swelling deep in their skin. Swelling often happens around the lining of the mouth/lips and eyelids, but it can also affect other areas of the body. This swelling is called angioedema.

In most cases, angioedema is harmless. However, hives and angioedema can be early signs of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening medical condition. Seek immediate medical attention or visit the nearest emergency room if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Swelling in your mouth or throat

  • Difficulty swallowing

In addition, talk to your doctor if your hives don't go away within a few days. If you've experienced hives symptoms for more than 6 weeks, you may have chronic hives.

Related conditions to hives

Hives treatment FAQs

  • What are the symptoms of hives?

    The hallmark symptom of hives is welts that appear on the skin. While hives often resemble insect bites, they're different in a few ways:

    • Hives can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, arms, chest, legs, and neck. Over the course of your skin reaction, you might notice your hives change shape, join together, or disappear. Sometimes, hives can spread to different parts of the body.

    • Hive bumps, which are red- or skin-colored welts with clear edges, tend to appear suddenly and disappear relatively quickly. In most cases, hives disappear completely in 24 hours without treatment.

    • When you press the center of a red welt, it may turn white for a few seconds—a process called "blanching."

    Hives can be small and round, ring-shaped, or large and randomly shaped. Hives are itchy and may feel painful to the touch.

    Hives can happen in isolation, or they can be related to significant health problems.

  • How do you treat hives?

    Treatment will depend on the cause of your hives. If your hives are caused by an allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend antihistamine medications to relieve itching and reduce swelling.

    Over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Vistaril), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra), can help reduce allergy symptoms. For more severe reactions, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids or epinephrine injections.

    Meanwhile, if your hives aren't related to allergies or other underlying health problems, you won't need any treatment. Mild cases of hives typically disappear within 24 hours without any treatment.

    If you notice any symptoms of hives lasting more than 24 hours or getting rapidly worse, it's important to schedule an online consultation with your primary care doctor. Because skin rashes and welts can have many causes, including significant health problems, early evaluation is essential. After your doctor has evaluated your hives, they can recommend the best treatment option.

  • Are hives a serious problem?

    Although most cases of hives are mild, hives can be an early symptom of a severe (and potentially life-threatening) allergic reaction or less often a sign of another medical condition.

    If you think your hives or angioedema (swelling) were caused by a known allergy to food, medication, or another allergen, it's important to monitor your symptoms closely. Seek in-person emergency care or call 911 if you experience:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

    • Nausea or abdominal pain

    • Swelling around your tongue, lips, mouth, nose, or throat

3 simple steps to get treated for hives today

Step 1

Book a hives evaluation appointment.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your board-certified primary care doctor regarding your hives symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

Pick up a prescription for hives, if needed

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Hives treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request hives treatment and get a new prescription or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.


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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.