​Hives


Hives (also called urticaria) is a skin reaction that causes an outbreak of varied sized welts which may itch, burn or sting. Hives may vary in size, from small spots to large patches, measuring up to several inches in diameter. They can appear anywhere on the body and can last for a few hours to a few days before fading away. Several factors can trigger hives including, certain foods, medications, common allergens or some underlying medical condition. Genetics may also play a role in your chances of getting hives.


Appearance of red or flesh-colored, intensely itchy bumps on your body that may be from a few millimeters to several inches in size.  

Mild cases of hives can be treated at home. However, you should seek immediate medical help of our doctors at the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if your disorder lasts for more than a few days. You should head to the 24/7 Emergency and Acute Care at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately if you feel your throat is swelling and causing breathing difficulties. 

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Your doctor will begin your diagnoses by asking you questions and noting down your medical history. A physical examination will be conducted to take a look to determine the factor that triggers hives on your skin. While there is no specific test for hives, your doctor may recommend a skin allergy test. If it is accompanied by fever, your doctor may prescribe few tests to rule out any abnormalities in the body that may be causing a bacterial infection.

Hives can be painful and uncomfortable. While they usually resolve on their own, treatment may provide you with some respite from the itching and burning. The first preference of your doctor will be to determine the cause that triggers your hives. Until then you may be prescribed one of the following medications:

  • Antihistamines to reduce or block histamines in order to stop the allergy symptoms including itching and swelling

  • Oral corticosteroids, for severe cases of hives, to reduce swelling, redness and itching

  • Autoimmune drugs to calm your overactive immune system incase antihistamines and corticosteroids fail to work

  • Topical steroids

  • Emollients

In case of emergency situations, you may be given an injection of epinephrine, a type of adrenaline. If you are prone to regular attacks that are serious, your doctor may ask you to keep a pen-like device with you that will allow you to self-administer epinephrine in emergencies.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.