What Doctors Treat Chronic Hives?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: November 2022

People with chronic hives may have several doctors who help manage their care. The healthcare team may include generalists and specialists. Generalists look at your health as a whole, while specialists have expertise in a specific area.

Your primary care doctor may be the first to diagnose chronic hives. They may also be able to develop your treatment plan. Find a primary care doctor you trust to discuss your overall health.1

In some cases, your primary care doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or an allergist. These are specialists who can help rule out other conditions. They may also help find the best treatments.2

Primary care doctor

A primary care physician (PCP) is the doctor who coordinates all of your care. They can be family medicine doctors, internal medicine doctors, or pediatricians. They are usually the first doctor you see when you have questions or concerns. Some of the jobs of a PCP include:1

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  • Diagnosing acute and chronic conditions
  • Noticing changes in your health
  • Managing treatments for acute and chronic conditions
  • Learning your health history
  • Recommending tests and screenings
  • Referring you to specialists
  • Coordinating your overall healthcare

It may be better to see a PCP about chronic hives rather than going to an urgent care facility. This is because your PCP will be more familiar with your health history and personal preferences.

It is important to find a PCP you trust. Look for a PCP who:1

  • Makes you feel comfortable when discussing your health
  • Explains things in ways you understand
  • Asks for your opinion and listens to your concerns
  • Explains different treatment options
  • Patiently answers your questions
  • Is board-certified
  • Has experience treating common illnesses
  • Offers referrals to qualified specialists


Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. They have medical degrees and additional training in dermatology. They can diagnose and treat many conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer.2

Your PCP may refer you to a dermatologist to help diagnose or treat chronic hives. Examples of when your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist include:3

  • To identify other skin conditions, which sometimes includes a skin biopsy
  • If an underlying disorder is suspected
  • When the diagnosis is uncertain
  • If symptoms are not controlled by antihistamines or other standard medicines


An allergist is a doctor who specializes in allergies, asthma, eczema, and other immune system disorders. They have medical degrees and additional training in internal medicine or pediatrics. They also have more training in allergy and immunology. Allergists can perform tests and suggest drugs to manage allergic conditions.3

Your PCP may refer you to an allergist to help diagnose chronic hives. Examples of when an allergist can help include:3,4

  • To test for food or environmental allergies
  • To rule out any autoimmune conditions
  • If symptoms are not controlled by antihistamines and other standard treatments
  • If prolonged treatment with steroids is needed