Home Remedies and Lifestyle Tips for Hives
Hives, also called urticaria -- an itchy, uncomforatble, inflammatory skin reaction that often develop suddenly and unexpectedly -- can affect any part of the body. These lifestyle tips and home remedies can help you better manage a breakout of hives -- and may even reduce your risk of developing urticaria.
Hives can be triggered by a number of different factors. In some cases, a small number of hives appear, and in others, a full outbreak develops. It can be difficult to determine what is causing your hives, but finding out what is triggering your reactions is the first -- and one of the best -- ways to find relief.
In many cases, hives surface on the skin because of an allergic reaction -- a trigger causes the body's immune system to produce a large amount of histamines. Use an OTC antihistamine as directed to relieve itching and swelling. Avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen for pain, as these may further aggravate hives -- especially in children.
At the first signs of a hives outbreak, apply a towel dampened in cold water or an ice pack to the skin to reduce swelling, calm the skin, and help prevent you from scratching. Take a cool shower or a cool bath with uncooked oatmeal or a product like Aveeno, which provides relief for other inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or shingles.
Tight fitting clothes can put pressure on the skin, irritating existing hives or -- especially in people with heat, sweat, or pressure triggers -- causing patches of hives to form. Loose-fitting clothes can help prevent additional irritation and discomfort. Also avoid clothing made from scratchy-textured material such as wool.
Some ingredients found around your home may be used to soothe hives and calm your skin. Dilute a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water and apply with a cotton ball. Use milk of magnesia or Pepto-Bismol as an alternative to calamine lotion, or apply a paste made of baking soda or cream of tartar and water. Other remedies include fish oil or nettle supplements and drinking chamomile tea.