Chronic spontaneous urticaria (hives)
A quick and accurate diagnosis is essential. The GP is an important first step in the diagnosis and a specialist dermatologist, allergist or immunologist will be able to properly diagnose and treat the disease.
Chronic spontaneous urticaria is where there is no known trigger for the hives, which means they can appear at any time. It is more common in women than men and peaks between the ages of 20 and 40 years.1
This form of the condition occurs in more than two thirds of people with chronic hives.1
Symptoms of chronic spontaneous urticaria
It can be very frustrating to not know what triggers the disease and there is a lot of false information around. In this form of urticaria, allergies are not a trigger. Stress is also not a trigger, although it can make the symptoms worse.
Chronic spontaneous urticaria is a serious condition which affects a person in many ways. Relationships with family and friends can be affected, frequent visits to a doctor are required, normal daily activities become impossible or very difficult to complete, sleep is impacted, the ability to concentrate and process information becomes more difficult and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can occur.1,2,3
There are effective treatments. Medical guidelines in Australia recommend that people are first treated with antihistamines at various doses. If that does not work, a range of scientifically tested medications can be prescribed by your doctor.4
For some of these treatments you need to be in the care of an immunologist or dermatologist. Speak to your GP about a referral to an urticaria specialist.
Impact of chronic spontaneous urticaria
Explore on this siteCan a healthy diet help manage chronic urticaria (hives)? What are the chronic spontaneous urticaria causes? Chronic hives (urticaria) causes Spontaneous hives – is it real? Incidence of chronic hives in children Chronic spontaneous urticaria (chronic hives) treatment options Chronic spontaneous urticaria (chronic hives) guidelines
Locate a specialistAustralasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Skin & Cancer Foundation Australasian College of Dermatologists
- Maurer M et al. Allergy 2011; 66:317–330.
- Maurer M et al. Allergy 2017; 72: 2005-2016.
- Mendelson M et al. J Dermatol Treat 2017; 28:229-236.
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. ASCIA Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (CSU) Guidelines. 2015. (accessed 9 October 2018).