Hives episodes can manifest in many different ways. Thus, an individual’s urticaria prognosis will depend on his or her circumstances. The hives prognosis may be affected by the length of the episodes and by the cause of the hives, among other factors.
Acute urticaria, which can last anything from a few hours to six weeks, can be triggered by viral and bacterial infections, foods, food preservatives and additives, insect bites and stings, and medications. Chronic urticaria, which can last from just over six weeks to many years long, may also be caused by a variety of factors. Among its triggers are physical stimuli like sunlight, heat, physical exertion, sweat, cold, pressure and water.
Most cases of chronic urticaria are idiopathic. This means that the people suffering from them and the medical professionals consulted are unable to determine what triggered them. The patients could unknowingly expose themselves to these factors every single day. For these people, being unable to identify the factor may result in an urticaria prognosis of lifelong discomfort.
For other patients with idiopathic chronic urticaria, either complete recovery or partial improvement is possible within one to five years. According to the March 2011 edition of The Journal of Family Practice, studies carried out in Netherlands, Brazil and Greece showed that full recovery would result for a third of such patients and partial improvement would result for another third. Those patients younger than 30 years in age with more severe hives or with physical hives tended to have the worst hives prognosis.
Some General Remarks about a Patient’s Possible Hives Prognosis.
While it is not possible to generate exact predictions for every stricken patient, the general urticaria prognosis is positive. Hives are usually uncomfortable but harmless. In a minority of situations, hives occur in tandem with a condition called angioedema in such a way as to potentially harm a patient. In these rare situations, unless the patient gets immediate medical assistance, the angioedema can cause suffocation and death.
In most cases, hives will eventually disappear quickly on their own, leaving no scars or discolored skin behind. Before then, one can take various medications to ease the discomfort associated with the symptoms. Many of the medications and home remedies for hives act to soothe the itching skin. Others, known as antihistamines, work by interrupting the process by which the mast cells in the patient’s skin produce histamine. Steroids are often used to treat severe cases of hives, but they have unfortunate side-effects with prolonged use.