Duration of hives: when does the rash go away?

The duration of urticaria ranges from a few days to many years, depending on the course of the disease. Although patients can treat the itchy hives with increasingly effective medications, there is still no cure for the disease. It suddenly disappears again on its own at some point. About half of those affected suffer from the itchy wheals for three years or even longer. 2

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Why do many patients ask how long hives last??

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Whoever comes down with the widespread skin rash suffers from extreme itching. And also suffer from uncertainty about the duration of hives.

In the dermatologist’s office, patients often ask when the itchy hives will completely disappear again. Of course, you want to know when to expect an end to the agonizing symptoms.

Although medical professionals can treat the symptoms of rashes well in most cases. But the understandable wish to know a concrete duration of the disease remains unfulfilled – which can put a great psychological strain on those affected.

Why doctors can’t predict how long hives will last?

The duration of hives varies greatly. Depending on the patient, it ranges from a few days to many years. As suddenly as it came, the disease then disappears again.

It is still unclear how this spontaneous self-healing of the body occurs. When this so-called remission will occur in an individual patient, doctors cannot predict.

Are there figures on the average duration of the disease?

Yes, according to research, the duration of hives in 50 percent of all sufferers is about six months. 1

In more than half of chronic urticaria cases, symptoms improve significantly within twelve months. However, many patients also feel that their everyday life is impaired or severely burdened by the hives. About a third of them even permanently throughout the year. 2

However, the duration of the hives can also be significantly longer than twelve months. 1 In about one fifth with a chronic course, the itchy wheals occur for longer than three years. For another fifth, it is at least five years and for every tenth affected person even longer.

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How does the duration of hives differ between acute and chronic forms??

The wheals typically appear very suddenly and disappear again within 24 hours. However, new wheals form on other areas of the skin instead. Depending on the form of the disease, this swelling and subsidence can last for a few days or up to years.

If the duration of the hives is less than six weeks, it is a so-called acute urticaria. It is most common, is usually accompanied by mild symptoms, and is treated purely symptomatically (usually with H1 antihistamines, and in severe cases with cortisone). The search for the causes is not necessary in most cases. 3

If it occurs for longer than six weeks, on the other hand, it is chronic urticaria. Their treatment requires close cooperation between doctor and patient and a lot of patience. For chronic hives is often accompanied by severe symptoms that need to be treated with medication. 1

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