Glossary of Chronic Hives Terms

A

Acute

A health condition lasting for less than 6 weeks.1

Allergist/Immunologist

A doctor who is an expert in treating allergies, asthma, and other immune system conditions.2

Allergy

An oversensitive immune reaction to a particular substance, which is called an allergen.3

Anaphylaxis

Swelling of the airways because of an allergic reaction, which can potentially close off the airways. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.2,3

Angioedema

Swelling of the area beneath the skin, especially the lips, face, and extremities.2,4

Antidepressants

Medicines used to treat depression and anxiety. Some types, such as Silenor® (doxepin), can be used to treat chronic hives.5

Antihistamine

A type of drug that can treat conditions caused by high levels of histamine, which is a chemical produced by your immune system.3,5

Autoimmune disorder

A condition that happens when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake.2,6

B

Biopsy

A procedure to remove a piece of tissue, such as skin, to test in a laboratory.5

C

Chronic

A health condition lasting for longer than 6 weeks.1

Comorbidity

A condition that is present at the same time as another condition.2

Complication

A side effect of a disease or treatment. Complications can negatively affect health outcomes.

Corticosteroid

A type of drug that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.5,7

Cutaneous

Describes a disorder or symptom that affects only the skin.1

Cyclosporine

A drug that may help relieve symptoms of chronic hives by suppressing the immune system.5

D

Dermatologist

A doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.2,8

F

First-generation antihistamine

The first type of antihistamines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They cause drowsiness because they can cross the blood-brain barrier.5,9

H

Histamine

A chemical released by your immune system. This leads to hives, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms.2

Hives

Raised, red bumps or splotches on the skin that may itch, burn, or sting.2

I

Idiopathic

Relating to a condition that happens without a known cause.2

Inducible

Describes hives caused by exposure to a physical stimulus or trigger. Inducible means the same thing as physical.2

L

Leukotriene-receptor antagonist

A type of drug used to treat allergies and asthma by blocking the effect of a chemical called leukotriene.5,10

O

Over-the-counter

Describes medicines you can buy without a prescription.9

P

Physical

Describes hives caused by exposure to a physical stimulus or trigger. Physical means the same thing as inducible.2

S

Second-generation antihistamine

The second class of antihistamines to be approved by the FDA. These drugs do not cause drowsiness and are safer than first-generation antihistamines.5,9

Spontaneous

Describes hives that arise without a known cause or trigger.2

Symptom

A sign or evidence of a certain condition.2

Systemic

Describes a condition or symptom that affects multiple organs or the whole body.2

T

Topical

Describes a treatment that is used on a particular spot on the skin.5

U

Urticaria

The medical term for hives.2,4

W

Wheals/Welts

Areas of the skin that are raised, red, and itchy. Wheals/welts mean the same thing as hives.2,4

X

Xolair® (omalizumab)

A medicine used to treat chronic hives by blocking proteins involved in the allergy response.5

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

Written by: Matt Zajac │ Last reviewed: April 2022