We’ve all had our fair share of skin issues. Whether it’s rashes caused by a bad skincare product, dark spots due to sun damage, or an inexplicable acne outbreak, we’ve seen it all.
Hives are one such skin condition caused due to an allergic reaction. They look like mosquito bites gone rogue and can get very uncomfortable. Before we move on to discussing the ways by which you can get rid of them, it’s important to understand
what they are and what causes them.
What Are Hives?
Hives, or urticaria, is an allergic reaction that could occur at any age. The most common symptom of hives is red spots known as wheals or weals. These spots are often itchy, and could appear on the face, arms, legs, or torso.
If you’re lucky, you could have small and not very troublesome hives that appear and fade on their own. But, sometimes, hives might turn big and cause a burning sensation. While most hives fade in 24 hours, a few may last a for a couple of days or weeks. Very rarely, hives beneath the skin, or angioedema, may cause difficulty in breathing. It might also be life-threatening.1
What Causes Hives?
There are two main categories of hives.2 These include
- Acute urticaria: This occurs a few minutes after exposure to an allergen, and resolves itself within 6 weeks. About 20% of acute urticaria cases are caused by food allergies. Drugs are the cause of 10% these cases while 8% can be attributed to parasites. Physical factors which trigger hives include pressure, cold, heat, sunlight, and insect bites.
- Chronic urticaria:. Chronic urticaria persists for more than 6 weeks.
Save for the time frame, there isn’t any other way to distinguish between chronic and acute urticaria. But, there might be ways to reduce the duration of your hives outbreak.
How To Treat Hives
Diagnosis of hives involves a thorough physical examination. It also involves a series of questions regarding the frequency, duration, size, and color of the hives along with any foods, habits, or drugs that may have triggered it.
Oatmeal extract is used in lotions, creams, soaps, conditioners, and shampoos. It is also a popular ingredient in most home remedies. And, this holds true for hives as well. Here are two ways to use oats to treat a hive outbreak.
- Oats bath: Add two cups of ground oats to a cup of baking soda in a stocking. Place the mouth of the stocking around the tap in your bath and let warm water run through it. Soak in this warm bath water for a few minutes.5
- Oats paste: Mix two cups of oatmeal paste with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Apply this mixture to the affected parts and allow it to sit for about 15–20 minutes before washing it off.6
While oatmeal might not magically rid you of hives, it might give you some much needed relief.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is acknowledged for its medicinal properties around the world. Studies list aloe vera as a primary ingredient in medications for skin disorders, accounting for as much as 35% to 45% of their composition.7
All you need to do is apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected parts. This reduces inflammation and provides some much needed relief. You could repeat this a few times a day. Processed and over the counter aloe vera gels can also be used.8
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe skin rashes and provide relief from itching and inflammation that come with hives. Here are ways to use baking soda to relieve hives
- Baking soda bath: For a relaxing bath, fill your bath with warm water and empty about half a box of baking soda into it.
- Baking soda paste: You could also make a paste of baking soda with water and apply it on the affected parts. Leave this mixture on for a while before rinsing it off.9
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) isn’t just a delicious addition to recipes. It’s also an effective home remedy for the treatment of hives.
This remedy includes a mixture of ACV and cornstarch. If you’re giving it a go, apply this mixture to the affected areas and leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off. A few spoons of cornstarch in cold bath water is also an effective treatment for hives.1011
5. Licorice Root
Licorice root has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties which work as a home remedy for urticaria. A Chinese medicine called Kangqian Decoction, mainly consisting of licorice root, is found to be extremely helpful in treating urticaria. Licorice is also used in Russian and Japanese medicines for the treatment of skin disorders.12
Make licorice tea by simmering a teaspoon of chopped dried licorice roots in a cup of warm water for about ten minutes. You could drink this tea twice a day. Alternatively, you could apply the tea (once it has cooled down) to the affected parts.13 14
Simple home remedies can really ease a hive outbreak. But, it’s important to use them only in addition to conventional treatment. Be sure to do an allergy test on your hand before you try any of these remedies, so as to not be ridden with another allergy while dealing with hives.
|↑1||Maurer, M., J‐P. Ortonne, and T. Zuberbier. “Chronic urticaria: an internet survey of health behaviours, symptom patterns and treatment needs in European adult patients.” British Journal of Dermatology 160, no. 3 (2009): 633-641.|
|↑2||Ferrer, M. “Epidemiology, healthcare, resources, use and clinical features of different types of urticaria. Alergologica 2005.” J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 19, no. Suppl 2 (2009): 21-6.|
|↑3||Zuberbier, Torsten, Beate M. Henz, Malcolm W. Greaves, Lennart Juhlin, Anne Kobza-Black, Dieter Maurer, and Georg Stingl. “Definition, classification, and routine diagnosis of urticaria: a consensus report.” In Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 123-127. Elsevier, 2001.|
|↑4||Lee, Ernest E., and Howard I. Maibach. “Treatment of Urticaria.” American journal of clinical dermatology 2, no. 1 (2001): 27-32.|
|↑5||Barr, Teresa Leigh. “Oat protein complex sunblock and method of use.” U.S. Patent 6,368,579, issued April 9, 2002.|
|↑6||Barr, Teresa Leigh. “Foam and gel oat protein complex and method of use.” U.S. Patent 6,514,487, issued February 4, 2003.|
|↑7||Scivoletto, RoseMarie. “Composition for treating skin conditions.” U.S. Patent 6,248,763, issued June 19, 2001.|
|↑8||Shara (Urticaria). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.|
|↑9, ↑11||Duke, James A. The green pharmacy guide to healing foods: proven natural remedies to treat and prevent more than 80 common health concerns. Rodale, 2009.|
|↑10||Bragg, Paul Chappuis, N. D. Patricia Bragg, and Paul C. Bragg. Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System. Health Science Publications, Inc., 2003.|
|↑12||White, Linda B., and Steven Foster. The Herbal Drugstore: The Best Natural Alternatives to Over-the-counter and Prescription Medicines!. Rodale, 2003.|
|↑13||Jin, C. Y., D. L. Wang, and Z. D. Fang. “Effect of integrative Chinese and Western medicine in treating chronic urticaria and its impact on interleukin-10 and interleukin-8 in peripheral blood.” Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi jiehe zazhi= Chinese journal of integrated traditional and Western medicine 28, no. 4 (2008): 358-360.|
|↑14||Pimple, Bhushan P., Sachin L. Badole, Aman B. Upaganlwar, and Madanrao N. Mane. “Licorice: Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. Used for Dermatitis.” In Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology, pp. 433-438. Humana Press, 2013.|