Q&A: What Can I Do For Chronic Hives?

Allergies word cloudQ: What can I do for chronic hives? – E W.

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A: Some substances actually cause an allergic reaction that results in hives, while others have absolutely nothing at all to do with allergies. Strawberries, for example, contain a chemical that can cause cells in your body to release histamine, a chemical also produced in allergies, which allows blood plasma to leak into the skin and form the hives. In this article, we’ll scratch the surface and talk about methods to ease and prevent hives.

Sometimes only a tiny amount of the culprit is needed to set off a reaction. For example, you may have a sensitivity to seafood but break out after eating a steak — simply because the steak was cooked in a pan that had earlier been used to fry fish.

Don’t confuse hives with other skin conditions. Hives (or urticaria, as the doctors call them) occur when blood plasma leaks into the skin, causing “wheals,” or swollen areas. They can be as small as a pencil eraser or as large as a dinner plate, and they usually last only a few hours. But new wheals may form continuously. And as they form, they often itch.

Some natural remedies include:
-Wet Cold Compress
Dampen a paper towel with cold water and lay it on your affected skin for 15 minutes at a time.
Reapply the cold compress every few hours as needed to reduce pain and swelling. If hives are terrible it’s easiest to take as cold of a bath (covering hives with water) for 20-30 minutes and then stay cool.
Taking a cold bath may just make the hives spread and worsen. It just depends on the person, and how sensitive their skin is.

-Oatmeal Bath
Soak in a warm, not hot, oatmeal bath to relieve itching and sooth your skin. Use a regular carton of oatmeal and prepare it using warm water. Soak the affected area in this mixture until mixture turns cold. This is especially helpful if the hives cover a large portion of your body or are concentrated on your legs and lower body.

If you are experiencing chronic hives you should see an allergist and have an allergy test to find out what you are allergic to that is causing this reaction.  Here are FOUR temporary solutions:

1. Take non-drowsy forms of antihistamine pills.

  • Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)