Tracking Chronic Hives Symptoms

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board

A detailed description of your symptoms helps your doctor better understand your case and suggest the best treatments. However, individual hives often come and go within a day. This can make it hard to remember your symptoms well enough to describe them to your doctor.

Keeping track of your symptoms in a journal can help solve this problem. The journal can be used to identify triggers, find symptom patterns, and track how well your treatments are working. Talk to your doctor about what to include in your symptom diary. They can suggest templates or apps to help you get started.

What is a symptom diary?

A symptom diary is a record of how your symptoms change over time. It includes as many details as possible about your hives and other symptoms. The key feature of a symptom diary is that it shows your own personal perception of your condition. This helps show exactly how chronic hives affect your daily life.1

Your symptom diary can be in any format that works for you. For example, you can use a notebook and pen or a text file on a computer. It may be helpful to keep your diary handy in case you notice symptom changes away from home.2

For many people, keeping a symptom diary can seem time-consuming. However, there are tools to make the process easier, including:2-4

  • Smartphone apps with templates to fill in symptoms
  • Downloadable worksheets

Why should I keep a symptom diary?

The main goal of treatment for chronic hives is to reduce the impact of hives on daily life. A great way to track the daily burden of chronic hives is to keep a detailed diary. This can help you and doctors find the best possible treatments for you.1

Some other benefits of a symptom diary include:1

  • Identifying patterns in your symptoms
  • Discovering or ruling out possible triggers
  • Tracking progress with treatment
  • Better communication with your doctor
  • Better understanding of your own health
  • Identifying ways to reduce stress and improve quality of life

A symptom diary is especially important for people with chronic hives. This is because individual hives come and go within 24 hours. When symptoms change quickly, it can be hard to remember them. This can make it hard to describe your symptoms to doctors. A symptom diary can help you communicate better with your doctor.3

What should I record in my symptom diary?

Talk to your doctor about what to include in your symptom diary. Here are some things that are useful to record:2,4

  • Description of symptoms, such as itchiness, number of hives, and size of largest hive
  • Pictures of your hives
  • Medicines you take for chronic hives or other health conditions
  • Any illnesses or infections
  • Food
  • Weather, activities, and places you go
  • Bug bites and animal exposures
  • Clothing you wear
  • Stress levels
  • Overall mood and anxiety
  • Sleep

Keeping a diary does not guarantee that you will identify triggers. But it will help you connect your symptoms to your daily habits. Plus, it will help your doctors see how treatments and symptoms affect your daily life and well-being.2

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