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Help for Hives has been created and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

How urticaria and CSU 
can affect your life

Due to the unpredictable nature of the disease, many people with CSU live expecting a flare-up and fearing that their life is on hold, not knowing how long the condition will last. Work, sleep and relationships may suffer, and without proper care, the stress could lead to anxiety or depression.1,2 It is therefore important to see a doctor who can work with you to understand and help manage your condition.

The impact of urticaria and CSU on daily life is often underestimated and the effects don’t just stop at physical symptoms. Urticaria and CSU can have a major effect on your feelings and quality of life.


Coping with emotional impact

There are lots of things you can do to cope with the emotional impact brought on by the symptoms of urticaria and CSU. It is important to take a positive stance when thinking about your condition. Below are some ideas of how you can shift your mindset about urticaria and CSU.

  • Share experiences with others, particularly those who are going through a similar situation.
    This may help support you when you’re feeling low and may give you some treatment tips. Speak to your friends and family, or even join any of the numerous online communities for people living with urticaria. For more information about online communities, visit our Helpful Tools page.
  • Explain your CSU
    Negative responses to skin conditions can come from general lack of understanding and concerns that it might be contagious. Taking the time to explain CSU can help dispel any worries and help people understand the condition better.
  • Try not to focus on the opinions of others
    Self-consciousness doesn’t have to bring you down – it can encourage positivity too. By being more aware of your feelings and actions, you can see when you’re holding yourself back. It is only with this recognition that you can change and enjoy a social life despite your skin.
  • Wearing comfortable clothes
    This should help you to relax. Remember to wear clothes that will keep you cool if you find your hives are worse when you get hot.
  • If it helps you, hide your hives with loose fitting clothes where possible or use make-up to cover visible hives
    If you want to use make-up, test a small amount of it on your skin first to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin further.
  • Stay positive
    This is the most important thing you can do since it can help you avoid negative thoughts. It can be amazing how others around you respond differently when you are positive. One way to do this is to take the time to do things you love doing and remind yourself of the things you enjoy in life.

How to talk openly and honestly with your doctor

CSU doesn’t have to control you. Remember you have an important role to play in shaping your own care. Whilst you are still symptomatic, completing your patient reported outcomes questionnaires on a regular basis and keeping a log of your symptoms can help you to have meaningful conversations with your doctor to strive for complete symptom alleviation.

If you find yourself changing or cancelling plans, missing out on the things you enjoy, unable to work effectively or struggling to sleep because of your CSU, then speak to your doctor again and ask about the possibility of a treatment option that will give you better control over your symptoms.

Measuring urticaria impact

Whilst living with urticaria, it is really important to measure your disease impact regularly.


You're not alone 

If you are diagnosed with CSU, you are not alone; CSU affects millions of people worldwide.1
Take a look below to see what CSU patients Laura and Mark have to say.

Advice and tips for living with urticaria and CSU in the workplace

Stressful day

You may feel you need to ask for support, or at least share how you feel with a work colleague.


If your urticaria means you need to apply creams or medications, you may want to speak to your employer about identifying a place where you can do this in private.

Office environment

Urticaria is sometimes made worse by dry air or heat. If this happens to you, discuss possible adjustments to the office environment, e.g. sitting away from radiators.

Unpredictable flare-up

Flare-ups can be unpredictable and vary in severity, so you may wish to discuss opportunities for flexi-time or working from home on bad days.

Doctor’s appointment

You may want to discuss your company’s policy on healthcare appointments.

Uncomfortable uniform

If you have to wear a uniform that aggravates your skin, there may be some allowances or adjustments that can be made.

Advice and tips for speaking to somebody living with urticaria or CSU

Sometimes it can be difficult to know the right things to say or do when talking to somebody living with urticaria or CSU. Below are a few tips about how you can better approach a potentially sensitive subject:

  • Try to avoid asking what triggers their urticaria (hives) – a lot of the time, neither the doctor nor the patient can pinpoint a trigger.
  • Allow them the time to speak if something is bothering them and work with them to find a possible solution.
  • Offer your help to manage their stress – urticaria can raise levels of anxiety when symptoms flare-up.
  • Try not to make suggestions about how to improve their condition – like suggesting they change their laundry detergent or daily routines.
  • Lend an ear, and only offer advice if they request it.

We’d love your feedback

UK  |  June 2022  |  204803


  1. Powell R, Leech S, Till S, BSACI guideline for the management of chronic urticaria and angioedema. Clinical & Experimental Allergy 2015 (45) 547–565 
  2. O’ Donnell BF et al. The impact of chronic urticaria on the quality of life. Br J Dermatol 1997;136:197-201

UK  |  June 2022  |  196216