“Hives” is a skin condition, it is another name for the manifestation of urticaria and is an outbreak of swollen, red bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin. These bumps appear suddenly as the body’s adverse reaction to certain substances, or due to the changes in the weather or many times for unknown reasons.
Sometimes they look like plain skin rashes and can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat or ears.
Hives can vary in size from a pencil eraser to a dinner plate. They can also last for hours or up to one day before fading. They usually cause itching, but may also burn or sting.
Causes of Hives
· Food and food additives: Strawberries, chocolate, tree nuts and dairy products are possible triggers. Also some people are allergic to food colorings or other ingredients in processed foods such as Salicylates, Sulfites and Polysorbates.
· Medications - When you break out into hives after taking a particular medicine it shows you are allergic to it.
· Stress – If you are prone to stress.
· Insect bites – they can cause a full body reaction.
How to Treat Hives
Physicians typically treat hives with medications such as steroids and anti-histamine, but if topical treatment for hives is done naturally there are options like:
· To keep from scratching, which can open hives and cause infection, wrap the affected area loosely in gauze.
· Make a cold milk compress and lay this on hives for up to 15 minutes at a time.
· Take a bath using baking soda or oatmeal which will soothe the itch.
· According to health studies, high doses of vitamins have been found to reduce histamine levels, which cause allergic reactions like rashes or hives.
· Just resting helps the hives to subside.
In addition to these natural remedies for hives, discuss the medical treatment for hives with your physician.
Instead of having to look for a cure for hives, one must try to prevent them in the first place by eliminating what triggered them. If it is a food or medication—which you would know within a few minutes – do not ingest any more of it.
If you find the break out increases around dogs, cats wool coats, or other common allergens avoid being around them. If it starts off with heat which causes itchiness, then move to a cooler area .
Thankfully an episode of hives does not last very long. If hives are accompanied by difficult breathing, swelling of lips, face or tongue, wheezing or dizziness, you require immediate urticaria treatment. You should then contact your physician or visit an emergency room immediately. It could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis and you will need a shot of epiphrine.
If you find you experience hive out breaks often, even though you avoid what you think are your specific triggers, then a visit to an allergist is a must.
By Poonam Bindra
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