- Peer support groups can help you manage the mental and physical challenges of living with chronic hives.
- You can find support through social media, online discussion forums, and local in-person groups.
- Urticaria Day (UDAY) offers more opportunities to get involved with the community of those with chronic hives.
Idiopathic urticaria involves flares of itchy, red welts that appear on your skin for no known reason. The condition becomes chronic when the hives last for more than 6 weeks and flares recur.
through online and in-person support networks.
While coping with chronic hives can be an isolating experience, you’re not alone with this condition.
Chronic hives affect an estimated 2 percent of people in the United States, according to the World Allergy Organization. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that around 1.6 million people in the United States have CIU.
That means there’s a large community of people who share some of the challenges of living with hives, which can affect emotional well-being. A 2019 review of 25 studies found that nearly 1 in 3 people with chronic hives also have a mental health condition.
While more research is needed on whether CIU causes certain mental health conditions, the review did find a connection between hives and depression and anxiety.
Tapping into a peer support group can help you find ways to cope with the challenges of living with chronic hives. Others living with CIU can understand firsthand the things you’re going through, offer helpful tips, and remind you that you’re not alone.
While there are many support groups for people with CIU, no two groups are exactly the same. It’s important to find one that makes you feel empowered, supported, and informed.
Do a bit of research on the group before diving in. It can be helpful to read group rules, what’s expected of you and others, and how your privacy is protected. As you get more involved in a group, consider reflecting on whether the group is meeting your needs as someone living with CIU.
Here are some options for chronic hives support groups:
Online discussion boards
Discussion boards allow members to post a question or topic and gather responses from others. A discussion board makes it easy to scan posts and participate in topics that are most meaningful to you.
Here are three discussion boards for people with CIU:
- Urticaria Day discussion forum. The Urticaria Day website, honoring a day to raise awareness of chronic urticaria, hosts a forum with topics related to hives.
- Daily Strength hives support group. Daily Strength has an online support group for people to share their experience with chronic urticaria and autoimmune urticaria.
- Inspire. Inspire is a large community of people dedicated to mental health. At its main portal, you can search for user-submitted posts that discuss chronic urticaria.
Social media groups
Social media sites like Facebook make it easy for people with CIU to start and join support groups. These groups may be public, private, or have specific geographic boundaries.
Here are a few Facebook groups for those with CIU:
- Chronic Hives (Urticaria) Support Group
- Chronic Urticaria Support Group
- Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria
- Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria Support Group
- Women with Chronic Urticaria Thrive with Hives
Local in-person groups
Many communities are home to in-person support groups for people with chronic conditions. Your doctor or other members of your care team may be able to recommend a support group for people with chronic urticaria in your area.
Mental Health America also offers ways to find support groups you can attend in-person, such as through its affiliate program. If the group is not able to meet in person, they may connect virtually.
Urticaria Day (also known as UDAY) is celebrated on October 1 every year. The worldwide awareness initiative includes both online and in-person events. It offers an opportunity for people with chronic hives to connect with others who have the condition.
You can get involved by hosting an event or promoting the day through the social media hashtags #uday or #urticariaday. As awareness of urticaria increases, you may see new peer support groups and other communities emerge.
If you have chronic hives, you’re not alone. Connecting with others who have the condition can help you learn ways to identify your triggers, soothe symptoms, and cope with the emotional aspects of hives.
Places where you can find support include:
- online discussion forums
- social media groups
- in-person communities in your area
You can also find others living with the condition through Urticaria Day events.