Home Remedies and Lifestyle Tips for Hives

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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.


Uncover and avoid triggers

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.


Use an OTC antihistamine

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.


Apply a cool, wet compress

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.


Wear loose, smooth textured clothes

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.


Try remedies with home ingredients

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.