Question: Why do I have to carry an Epi-pen if I suffer from hives?
Answer: In most patients hives typically only involve the surface layers of the skin, the outer most surface layers of the skin. In some cases, hives can involve other parts of the body such as the lining area of the mouth and/or the throat. When we have what we call these "internal hives" the airway passages can become narrowed and therefore may cause people significant problems with their breathing. As one of the therapies for this situation that we call "airway compromise due to airway swelling," we prescribe people injectable epinephrine.
It's important to know not everybody who has hives gets this complication. It's a very rare complication, but if someone is prescribed injectable epinephrine and feels the symptoms of airway narrowing, they should take the medicine and not stop there but actually proceed to the emergency room for further medical attention because more things may need to be done to manage this rare complication.