20 ways to get rid of hives
Hives or urticarias are red, itchy skin rashes triggered by food, medicine, or other irritants. They can vary from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameters. The below table represents various irritants that may trigger hives and the expected duration of its appearance:
When hives appear
Foods: Many foods can cause hives, including peanuts and other nuts, eggs, and shellfish.
Hives typically appear within one hour of eating the food.
Foods (if you have a latex allergy): If you already have a latex allergy, bananas, chestnuts, kiwis, or mangos can trigger hives.
Hives appear 12-24 hours after you eat the food.
Additives Colorings and preservatives used in foods, vitamins, and other supplements, spices, cosmetics, skincare products, toothpaste, or other products can trigger hives.
Hives usually appear within 12-24 hours.
Medications: Many medications, including antibiotics, aspirin, and ibuprofen, can be triggered.
Hives can occur immediately, days, weeks, or years after you start taking a medication.
Hives or an itchy rash appear when you start to warm up after being in cold water or outdoors in the cold. Hives can also appear almost immediately when you go into an air-conditioned building or walk near a freezer case.
Hives tend to develop within a minute.
Ultraviolet light (sunlight, tanning beds)
Hives often appear within minutes.
Vibration (extremely uncommon cause)
Itching and swelling develop when you’re exposed to any vibration.
Adrenalin: Stress, exercise, heat, and hot showers are a few things that cause your body to release adrenaline.
Hives appear quickly and last for 30-60 minutes.
Pressure on your skin: Tight-fitting clothes, sitting, or a purse strap can apply enough pressure to cause hives.
Hives can occur when pressure is applied to the skin or appear 4-24 hours later.
Touch a plant, animal, or chemical: Stinging nettle, jellyfish, cinnamon, sorbic acid, or latex are common triggers.
Usually, within minutes, hives (and sometimes difficulty breathing) occur.
In most cases, home remedies to relieve hives may come to aid:
- Apply a cold compress to the itchy skin several times a day—a cold compress such as ice cubes wrapped in cloth may be useful in relieving the symptoms of itchiness.
- Avoid overheating as heat may augment hives.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes.
- Prevent dry skin by using fragrance-free moisturizer several times a day.
- Apply calamine lotion on the itchy area.
- Avoid unnecessary stress, as stress can exacerbate hives—exercising, meditating, and practicing mindfulness may help minimize the symptoms.
- Identify the triggers and avoid them.
- Bath with an anti-itch solution.
- Avoid harsh soaps or perfumes.
- Apply sunblock while stepping out.
- Try to work and sleep in a cool room.
- Avoid scratching the rashes, as it triggers further itching.
- Some of the natural treatments for hives include aloe vera lotion, which consists of vitamin E that helps in relieving itchiness and other symptoms of hives.
Some lifestyle modifications may help in managing the symptoms of hives:
- Consult a board-certified dermatologist or allergist for a thorough medical examination, as it may help to rule out conditions or medications that may be causing hives.
- Take supplements such as:
These supplements may help with some of the symptoms; however, consult a physician before taking these supplements.
- Maintain a food diary to note down the time and duration of hive occurrence to pin the triggers.
- Take pictures of hives to show the physician during the consultation.
- The physician may prescribe certain medications to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
- Medications such as antihistamines and steroids are the drug of choice for hives. If these medications fail to relieve hives, the physician may prescribe montelukast or Xolair (omalizumab). But Xolair is only approved for those who are more than 12 years of age.
- An epinephrine injection may help if the hives cause extreme discomfort and breathlessness.
- Other alternatives for hive treatment include phototherapy; several rounds of ultraviolet light make the rashes smaller.
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