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How To Treat Hives: Your Guide To Recognizing and Responding

hives on white skin

What Are Hives? They are red, itchy spots on the skin; they are generally raised upward to some degree. Additionally, the spots appear in groups, slowly fading away to give place to new bumps and lasting for different amounts of time depending on the cause and type. They can appear in many situations in response to different stimuli. Knowing how to recognize and treat this problem can benefit both yourself and others as you will know what to do. Lets take a closer look at what you can do about it with this quick guide.


What Causes Hives?

Hives are caused by the cells releasing histamine. Histamine is caused by antibodies fastening themselves onto a mast body. When this happens, histamine is released. The release causes the blood to leak into the deepest layer of skin. This blood under the skin is the origin of the raised, itchy bumps.


There are four main classes of hives, each sort caused by a different irritant and each one demonstrating somewhat divergent symptoms.

  • Acute Urticaria- This kind is the most common and is caused by an allergic reaction to food, medicine, insect bites, or anything else. Certain foods are more prone to trigger histamine than other foods. Some examples of common trigger foods are the following: fermented foods, bananas, chocolate, strawberries, milk, and shellfish. This list is by no means exhaustive, and other foods actually contain histamine themselves. This class can also be caused by an overload of too much stress and will last no longer than six weeks.
  • Chronic Urticaria and Angioedema- This kind of hives last longer than six weeks and are usually indication of a more serious disease, rather than a reaction to a certain food.
  • Physical Urticaria- This variety of hive is much less serious, lasting less than an hour. What causes these are physical stimulations such as extreme heat or cold or extensive contact with chemicals.
  • Dermatographism- This class is much less serious, disappearing quickly. They appear after intense scratching or rubbing of a certain area.


What Are Some Hives Symptoms?

Now that you know what causes your body’s reaction, how do you know that you are actually experiencing hives and not something else? What kind of symptoms should be present?

Hives generally display themselves in a mixture of itchiness and bumpy or raised skin. Normally, unless you are experiencing chronic urticaria, your reaction will not last very long. However, the urticarial rash can be a bit different. It is also known as the ‘nettle rash’ and will cause more of burning feeling. A urticarial rash is typically displayed  on hands, feet, and/ or face.


How Do You Treat Hives?

Treatment for hives vary depending on the cause of the type you are experiencing. Remedies vary from home remedies to over-the-counter medicine to simple relaxation techniques.


How To Treat With Natural Home Remedies

If you would like to try home remedies for your symptoms, there are quite a few options for what you can do. Try each of these for quick relief when you experience acute urticaria.

  • Cold Bath- Taking a cold bath can keep the swelling down. You can change this remedy a little by either using frozen ice packs on especially irritated patches or skin or by adding oatmeal to your bath.
  • Rice Pad-By filling a sock with uncooked rice grains, you can make a ready-to-go heating or cooling pad. Depending on how your skin responds better, you should either have the pad frozen for use when you you need coolness or heat it for a short time in your microwave to administer heat.
  • Calamine lotion- Applying lotion repeatedly (two to three times a day while symptoms last) can help shrink the blood vessels that are releasing blood into your skin.
  • Baking Soda- Try mixing water with a few teaspoons of baking soda. Apply the mixture to your itchiest locations to get some relief from the pain.
  • Fish Oil- When experiencing a long bout of hives, the best thing to do is be prepared to combat them before they reach their worst point. Taking 1000 milligrams of fish oil three times per day can help lower your reaction. Fish oil is available in pill format and is more easily taken in that way.

These home remedies have been proven to provide some relief. Natural remedies are often a quick solution to get past the pain.


Stress Hives.

Another way to use natural home remedies is to treat hives resulting from stress. Because the stress causes your immune system to react strangely, it will release histamine to try solving the problem. The histamine only worsens your stress by causing a rash to appear on your body. Treating this variety of hives is the easiest as you simply need to relax. Doing some meditation or taking some time away from a stressful situation to spend some time on yourself can do wonders to get rid of your pain and itchy skin. A medicine that can relieve symptoms quickly is OxyHives. This medicine is fast working, and when your hives are not caused by an allergic reaction, this medicine can work to calm your body and placate the itchiness.


How To Treat Hives in Children and Babies

Hives in babies need to be treated a bit differently as it is more difficult to determine what is the cause. If you see hives on your baby or child, talk to a doctor immediately. He will usually ask about new foods or medicines that your child has been using. He will ask if you have noticed the patches worsening at a certain time and how long your baby or young child has been displaying the raised bumps and itchiness. Hives on children are more easily diagnosed as the child can tell you where they feel pain or if they have had itchiness somewhere. However, a baby may need to be further examined.


An oral diphenhydramine, known as Benadryl, will be prescribed to your child to keep down the itchiness level. Try to keep your child comfortable and be understanding throughout their experience. If a certain food or medicine seems to be triggering the hives, your doctor will recommend that you avoid the food or medicine for a set time to see if the child’s reaction goes away.


How To Treat Chronic Hives

Chronic hives should be treated a bit differently as they are caused by a more serious disease. Though you will not generally be affected in the long term, this type can indicate another problem in your body. Chronic hives normally last longer than six weeks at a time and recur throughout the year, causing constant pain. When you are experiencing this variety, it can be an indication that you are developing thyroid problems, lupus, celiac disease, or type 1 diabetes. If you have been experiencing hives for this long amount of time, you need to see a doctor right away if not done already. You need to know as soon as possible if there is a possibility that you have a more serious disease.


How To Treat Using Drugs

Many types of hives can be treated by a drug called antihistamine. Because an over-release of histamine in your body is what is causing your problem, antihistamine works against that flow. This drug can be available on prescription or in your local pharmacy. There are two types of antihistamine available. The oldest type is called “first-generation,” and the other type can be called “second-generation” or “third-generation.”  The main difference is not in how it treats the histamine, as both do equally well, but in the side effects. “First-generation” makes the user feel sleepy. This type of antihistamine can be useful to take at night, though the side effect has been known to last into the next day, making it harder to wake up. However, if you are having trouble falling asleep due to over itchiness, taking the “first-generation” may be your best option.


How To Treat Urgent, Life-threatening Hives

If these hives are causing your throat to close, meaning you have trouble breathing, you may experience anaphylaxis. When you experience or view someone struggling for breath and covered with swollen bumps, this is what is happening. Immediate action must be taken. If available, give a swift shot of epinephrine. This drug works against urgent allergic reactions. Once given, get medical attention immediately. You do not want someone’s air passages fully blocked, or their reaction could result in death.


Knowing that you have had previous trouble with hives, and you cannot find what seems to cure them, you should keep an epinephrine shot constantly with you can be a safety measure to protect your body against these reactions. Confirm the expiration date so that you do not use old epinephrine.


How To Prevent Future Hives

The last way that you can treat hives is more of a prevention step. Look for a pattern when the hives appear. If you see them always appearing when you take a certain medication, avoid that medication(try to find a substitute) and see if the symptoms subside. Experiment in the same way with food. Finding out what is causing your reaction can help you avoid future pain.


Use your new knowledge to be prepared to handle these allergic reactions.

Jessie L.
Jessie is a wellness enthusiast. Her goal is to help people have a healthier life.

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