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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Should I Use a Cream or Oral Antihistamine for Hives?

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It is grass allergy season. My legs break out in hives near my ankles when I am in my yard. In general, is it best to use an anti-allergy skin cream or an oral antihistamine to help with hives?

The hives could be happening from grass pollen touching your skin. You could use an anti-allergy skin cream like OTC hydrocortisone (as directed) first. If your symptoms persist or worsen, an oral antihistamine like Cetirizine or Zyrtec would be of use. Use as directed.

Allergy, Grass Allergy, Hives (Urticaria), Medicines
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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