Hives treatment becomes mandatory if the hives are persistent and last more than a week.
You may have to seek the advice of the doctor in such cases. But before we commence to explain hives treatment, let us glance at the causes and symptoms of hives.
What are Hives?
Hives are allergic skin reactions which appear as raised skin welts red or pale in color. They may look like clusters which appear or disappear within 24 hours and even change their locations around the body.
On pressing the hives, they blanche and fade in color. The patient suffers from itching and is often tempted to scratch the area.
Causes of Hives
Hives is a kind of skin allergy. A person maybe allergic to certain substances which may trigger an allergic reaction. Allergy is caused when IgE antibodies are produced in the body in the presence of an allergen substance.
IgE antibodies combine with the mast cells of the skin and in turn produce histamines.
Histamines trigger allergic reaction in the body which may cause hives on the skin. The common allergens which cause such an allergy are eggs, nuts, chocolates, certain drugs, medications, soy and even stress.
Excessive perspiration is also known to cause hives. Cat dander is also a common culprit which is known to trigger hives.
Treatment of Hives
Eliminating the allergen: Hives treatment necessitates that the causative allergen be first identified because of which hives has occurred in the body. That could be the greatest challenge to medics. Pinpointing the cause of Hives is only half the problem.
Most of the doctors proceed with routine allergy tests, blood tests and analyze the family history of the patient. The general lifestyle of the patient, the diet habits etc are considered while identifying the allergen that causes hives.
While tackling the problem of hives, people are asked to avoid wearing tight fitting clothes. It has been found that tight fitting clothes trigger sweat and even serve as abrasives and that might just complicate the condition of hives.
Apart from eliminating the allergen from the food or from the vicinity, doctors may prescribe certain anti-histamine drugs and medicines that are found to be very effective in tackling hives.
Cetrizine, Claritan, Alavert are the most popular anti-histamine drugs known for hives treatment. Benadryl is one of the few anti-histamine drugs that are easily available in drug stores and can also be purchased without a doctor’s prescription. It is known to heal the itching aspect of hives.
Other milder treatment of hives may include anti-histamine lotions such as calamine lotions. These lotions are known to soothe the area affected by the allergy.
One of the side-effects of these drugs (such as Doxepin, Hydroxyzine) is that they make the person drowsy and sleepy. If an anti-histamine medication makes a person lethargic then he/she may ask for a substitute of that medication that would heal the condition of hives without sedating the person. Some of the non-sedating drugs for treating hives are: Xyzal and Clarinex.
Avoid hot baths and vigorous rubbing of the skin with towel. The condition of hives is known to aggravate in extreme temperatures. It is hence advisable to splash the area with tepid water either.
One can then apply a balm of Benadryl on the effected area after patting the area dry. It is known to mitigate the intensity of the rash.
The doctor may also prescribe certain stronger drugs if the normal ones do not respond to the treatment of hives. The most commonly prescribed drugs for treatment of hives are corticosteroids such as Loratidene, Allegra etc.
These drugs are generally given in severe cases of hives where the person may be subjected to anaphylactic shocks.
Hives may also cause excessive swelling of the face which may in turn obstruct the food pipe. As a result, the person may have trouble while swallowing and even breathing!
Usually these conditions are akin to chronic hives which is indeed debilitating. In life-threatening situations created due to hives, doctors dissolve epinephrine and inject in the system of the patient.
Using corticosteroids and related steroid medications may have stronger side-effects than the anti-histamine drugs. The common side-effects that are found in patients taking steroids as medication for hives are insomnia, restlessness, increase in appetite, shirt-term weight gain etc.
Owing to these reasons, doctors do not prescribe steroids as part of hives treatment liberally. Only when the anti-histamine drugs are found to be in effective that these medications are preferred by the doctors.
Natural Remedies for Hives Treatment
Certain home-based remedies for hives treatment have found to be quite effective, especially in cases of persistent hives. The most popular ones in the case of home remedies is the application of witch hazel and zinc oxides.
They are found to be extremely soothing and healing in nature. Itching sensation on the hives also get tremendously reduced after application of witch hazel. Another popular herbal remedy and natural remedy of hives treatment is Red Alder tea. The presence of the astringent Tannin in this Red Alder tea considerably reduces the itching sensation of the hives and is also known to be effective in healing the allergic area.
Jewelweed salve is again a popular herbal remedy for hives. It takes the itching sensation away very effectively. Research demonstrates that the juice of papaya is also effective in healing the body from the inside as it cures the allergic reaction in the body.
Don't Scratch The Itch!
Dermatologists also ask the patents not to scratch the area affected by hives.
Scratching or rubbing the skin would only aggravate the skin condition. Every attempt must be made to keep the area cool and the skin dry. Regular application of calamine lotions and anti-histamine creams are effective in treating hives.
Once the causes of hives are known, the focus of the treatment becomes easier for the doctors.