People with hives experience red, itchy welts that may resemble pinpricks or dots. They can be raised or flat, and maybe skin-colored or white. The welts may appear in various shapes and colors, from tiny spots to thin raised lines. Although the hives usually appear and disappear within a few hours, they can be persistent or occur frequently. A variety of treatments are available, from over-the-counter medications to expensive prescription drugs.
Home remedies for hives include oatmeal, calamine lotion, and chilly rice. These ingredients are all effective for soothing the itch and are less messy than ice. You should also be aware of your food allergies, as these may be causing the hives. Try to keep a food diary, and you will be able to identify common culprits. Avoid eating any of these foods for at least one week, and you should be able to stop the itching.
Hives are caused by a number of things. For instance, psoriasis, dry skin, poison ivy, and certain medications may all trigger hives. Some people may break out in hives after being exposed to cold or bright sunlight, or after exercising. Some of these factors are unexpected, and treatment is essential. You should consult a doctor before trying a new medication.
Hives are small red bumps on your skin that tend to occur for no apparent reason. Hives generally crop up singly or in clusters, itch intensely, give you the urge to scratch, then disappear within a few hours. Occasionally, hives linger for an entire day or revisit: And you may never figure out what triggered doctors.
A BIG MYSTERY
A million different things can cause hives, Harkaway, a dermatologist. “The most common causes of hives ate food and medications: says Dr. Helen Hollingsworth. “For example, a frequent cause of hives is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as over-the-counter pain relievers that women use all the time.” No one is exactly sure most likely to trigger a reaction are aspirin, ibuprofen, and Naprosyn, the sort of drugs that women take for menstrual cramps, muscle strains, and headaches.
Other causes of hives include fever blisters, allergies or infections plus foods such as nuts, licorice, blue cheese, and shellfish says dermatologist Dr. Esta Kronberg. A hot shower, exercise, or even a stressful event can also trigger hives says Dr. Hollingsworth. Even pressure from a bra strap, tight shoes, a shoulder bag can cause hives in susceptible individuals.
Hives are formed when any of these triggers immune substances known as mast cells coursing through your blood vessels, squirting an inflammatory substance called histamine into your cells. The vessel will become swollen and leak, forming the red, itchy bump that you see and feels like a hive.
SOOTHE, DON’T SCRATCH
Trying to figure out what caused hives can be bewildering,” says Dr. Harkaway. “So doctors generally just initially prescribe antihistamine medication to eliminate the itch and inflammation—and hope that the hives will go away. If the hives do not go away within six weeks, the doctor will do tests to try and determine the cause.
Home treatments for hives are also aimed at eliminating the itch. (Besides, scratching only makes hives worse.) Here’s what women doctors suggest.
Put the hive on ice. To constrict the blood vessel involved, prevent further leakage, and begin to shrink the hive, rub an ice cube over the hive—or hives—for several minutes, says Dr. Harkaway.
Soak in an oatmeal bath. To relieve the itchiness of hives, add Aveeno brand colloidal oatmeal over-the-counter bath powder available at your local chemist) to a bath full of lukewarm water. It stays suspended in water, so it won’t clog your drain. Soak yourself for 10 to 15 minutes, suggests Dr. Kronberg But avoid using hot water—it can make hives worse.
Apply medicated lotion. After your bath, smooth camphor lotion over your skin, says Dr. Kronberg. Soothing ingredients such as menthol can reduce itchiness.
Moisturize your skin. Dry skin tends to cause itching, which can irritate hives and make them worse. So if your skin tends to be dry, apply a moisturizer to the area around the hives as well, says Dr. Hollingsworth.
Stays Cool – Heat of any kind will make hives worse. So until you’re comfortable if you keep as cool as possible, says Dr. Hollingworth.
Wear loose clothes. The pressure generated by tight shoes and clothes ‘be particularly careful to wear loose clothing ‘Hollingsworth. The last thing that you want to do is encourage them to proliferate
Watch your diet – Be cautious about eating things like tomato sauce, citrus, strawberries, and shellfish while you have hives, advises Dr. Hollingsworth. Although no one knows why these foods frequently aggravate hives. _.
Take an antihistamine at bedtime. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can prevent hives from getting worse, says Dr. Kronberg. The usual dose is 25 milligrams once a day. Most antihistamines tend to make you sleepy, so she recommends taking them at bedtime. That way, you” get the medication’s full therapeutic effects without having to put up with daytime drowsiness.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
If you have hives that last for more than 24 hours or hives that leave a bruise when they go away, check with your doctor, says Dr. Helen Hollingsworth. You may have an underlying problem such as thyroid disease that requires medication.
You should also go directly to an accident and emergency department if you have hives around your eyes or in your mouth, or if you have difficulty breathing, says Dr. Karen S Harkaway. You may require an injection of epinephrin (a synthetic form of adrenalin) to prevent the hives from causing your throat to swell shut.