Chronic Hives: Why See a Specialist?

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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Hives, also known as urticaria, is a complex condition that affects everyone differently. Hives are rash-like red welts that form on the skin, sometimes as a result of an allergen. Chronic hives, or chronic urticaria, are hives that recur almost daily for six weeks or more. Hives can be caused by many different things, which is why all hives patients should follow unique treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. But your primary care doctor may not have all the information you need to manage your chronic hives successfully. That’s where allergists come in: a hives specialist, called an allergist, has the right skills and insight to help you stay in control of your chronic hives. Here’s why:

1. An allergist completes extensive training in chronic hives and is an expert in hives care.

An allergist, also referred to as an immunologist, is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, asthma, and certain disorders of the immune system. These conditions affect everyone in unique ways, so allergists must train extensively to master this area of study. An allergist will have expertise in treating chronic hives and other conditions related allergies, asthma, and immunology.

All doctors complete a training program called a residency after they finish medical school. But allergists receive considerable training beyond that. Allergists spend several additional years in a fellowship, during which they train under experienced allergists and focus on patients with hives and other allergy-related issues. At the end of this period, allergists can take an exam to become board-certified allergists. Look for a doctor who is board certified in allergy and immunology and you’ll know you’re seeing an expert. 

2. An allergist never stops learning about chronic hives.

To maintain their board certifications, allergists must keep up with new developments in their field. They’re required to complete continuing education and renew their licenses every few years, depending on the state in which they practice and other factors. By following these requirements, board-certified allergists stay on top of new treatments and discoveries about the mechanisms involved in chronic hives, so they can then provide their patients with insightful, informed, and up-to-date treatment plans.

3. An allergist has extensive experience in treating chronic hives.

Allergists see a higher volume and concentration of patients with chronic hives, and thus are more experienced in treating the condition successfully. Because of this experience, they can add real-world knowledge of the disease to their academic and clinical training. They’re able to assess how well patients respond to certain treatments, have a deeper understanding of the causes of hives, share insight about effectively implementing lifestyle changes, and recognize symptoms that a general practitioner may miss, among other skills.

4. An allergist is a team player.

Allergists work with teams of other health care providers who treat patients with chronic hives and can connect patients with dermatologists, dietitians, nurse practitioners, and other experts in hives management. Working with a team can help patients address all aspects of the issue and ensure success.

5. It’s easy to find the right allergist for you.

There are thousands of allergists in the United States, so how do you know which is the right doctor for you? By searching on, you can identify the best allergist to help you manage your chronic hives successfully.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Feb 17
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. American Academy of Allergy,
    Asthma and Immunology. Allergist/immunologists: specialized skills.
  2. American College of
    Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Hives (urticaria).