Healthy Living

What are the Treatments for Hives (Urticaria)?

What are the Treatments for Hives (Urticaria)?

Allergic skin disorders can be really disturbing. They can paralyze an individual’s quality of life and could even lead to tragic complications like allergic conditions. However, numerous treatments are available to control the symptoms efficiently.

Types of Hives      

  • Acute Hives/Urticaria- These in comparison to chronic hives generally have a short duration of stay and are found to last for less than six weeks. They most commonly arise due to the consumption of certain foods, side-effects of medications/drugs or infections. Insect bites and internal discomfort or disease may also be a possible cause for the same.
  • Chronic Hives/Urticaria- These last for more than six weeks and it becomes more difficult to identify the cause of this type of hives when compared to acute urticaria. Moreover, in some victims, it becomes impossible to determine the cause of the disease, whereas in some others, this may arise due to thyroid disease, cancer, hepatitis or other infections.

Acute Hives Treatment

Generally, no specific treatments are required for acute hives since its signs and symptoms are usually mild, short-lived and importunate.

  • Antihistamines:  If the symptoms become more rigorous or persistent, the patient can be prescribed with antihistamines which may block the histamine effects and sooth the itching.

Antihistamines do not cause drowsiness. However, some patients may experience certain reactions and therefore it is imperative to keep it off when operating heavy machines or driving vehicles. Antihistamines often trigger drowsiness among patients whose system contains alcohol.

Remember, pregnant women should not take antihistamines without the recommendation of the GP. More often, chlorphenamine is prescribed for pregnant women since it has minimal risks and greater benefits.

  • Corticosteroids: If the hive’s symptoms are very severe, the physician may prescribe high-dose oral corticosteroids which would repress the immune system completely resulting in significant elimination or reduction of the urticaria symptoms. Keep in mind that Corticosteroids should not be taken longer than five days. Lengthy prescriptions can worsen the symptoms increasing the risks of contracting an infection.

Chronic Hives Treatment

People having persistent hives will have to undergo treatments which focus on managing the symptoms and avoiding possible triggers that could deteriorate the condition. Such patients should be referred to medical specialists.

Menthol cream: This can be used in conjunction with antihistamines to ease the itching effect resulting from the hives illness.

Corticosteroids: Chronic hives patients can be given this treatment when the symptoms are more severe.

Avoiding triggers: Since triggers can worsen the symptoms, the patient must carefully evaluate the probable triggers and try to avoid them. Remember, the triggers are not responsible for causing the illness but they degenerate the condition. The hives patients might have to desist from taking alcohol or reduce the consumption. Avoiding stress or anxiety can help as well, though it would not be that simple, especially if the condition is hurting the victim’s quality of life. Some soaps, detergents and skin creams could be responsible for worsening the symptoms.

Diet: Many people suffering from hives admit that certain foods tend to trigger their signs and symptoms. Foods like yogurt, tomato, fish, processed meats, spinach, strawberries and chocolates are known to trigger excessive histamine production.

Meditation or hypnosis: Adopting consistent relaxation strategies like meditation or hypnosis greatly help in suppressing the symptoms and anxiety levels in severely affected patients.

Generally, 50% of the chronic hives patients experience significant improvements within 4-5 days while 25% of all victims might continue having the symptoms for about 10 years. The chronic condition could end up frustrating and distressing the patient. If there were any symptoms of depression, be quick to consult your doctor. Depression is treatable. Hence you do not have to worry much.

25% of the patients suffering from acute hives develop mild angiodema which could resolve by itself within 3 days. Patients who face breathing difficulties should seek emergency medications as soon as possible. Antihistamines and corticosteroids can treat angiodema.

Natural Remedies to Prevent Hives

  • Majority of dermatologists and skin-allergy specialists suggest ice packs or cold compresses as the best natural home remedy for hives treatment. Cold temperature controls the release of histamine by contracting the blood vessels. Furthermore, these help to alleviate inflammation, swelling and itching on the skin.
  • One should not consume nuts, eggs, fresh berries and milk since these are known to trigger the symptoms of hives.
  • Fresh foods are more often responsible for causing hives than cooked foods. Food additives and certain preservatives found in wines and sulfites may also become a cause for hives.
  • Aloe vera gel is another natural remedy to treat hives effectively. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to help reduce itching, swelling and redness when applied topically. Furthermore, it can also be consumed in liquid form to boost up the immune system.
  • Ginger, also known as ‘Wonder Drug’ can be directly applied on the inflamed skin or orally consumed. This has anti-histamine properties and influentially helps to offer relief from the pain and inflammation by improving the circulation of the skin.
  • Drugs like aspirin, NSAIs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory) medications such as Ibuprofen, antibiotics, painkillers and high blood pressure drugs or ACE inhibitors should strictly be avoided. Furthermore, it is recommended to eliminate the intake of sedatives, tranquilizers, antacids, eye drops, laxatives, vitamins and diet supplements since these function as triggers for the occurrence of hives.
  • A ‘Home-made Oatmeal Bath’ will definitely provide a soothing effect on the skin. The patient should be placed in the lukewarm water mixed with finely powdered thick paste of oatmeal.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is another natural remedy for hives. It can either be applied directly onto the skin surfaces through a paper towel or can be added to the bathtub filled with warm water. Although the individual may feel some itching or burning sensation initially, it does play a key role in restoring the overall health of the skin.

Hives/urticaria if managed well can disappear within the shortest time. Ensure to seek professional medication and avoid all the probable symptom triggers for an improved condition.