Simple and Effective Ways to Treat Hives

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Hives are the eruption of itchy welts anywhere on the body. They are caused by contact with or ingestion of an allergic substance, food, food additive or drug.

Hives are the eruption of itchy welts anywhere on the body. They are caused by contact with or ingestion of an allergic substance, food, food additive or drug.

Sudden sharp changes in climate may produce hives in people who are allergic to heat or cold. Some get hives from stress or tension, while others break out when the skin is scratched or exposed to heat. Others break out for no apparent reason. You can be certain it’s hives if the itchy welts “move around,” disappearing on one patch of skin only to show up somewhere else shortly after.

Usually the condition, which is annoying but harmless, will clear up by itself. If the hives are caused by a food allergy, they will appear within minutes of eating the offending food. If the cause of your hives is not that obvious, you might want to check with your doctor or allergist; the culprit could be a dye or additive in your food.

There is another form of hives called angioneurotic edema, which occurs when the tissue under the hives swells, particularly in the face area. Should your lips or the skin around your eyes swell, get medical help immediately.

The best defense for hives is to identify what you are allergic to and stay away from it. Here is a checklist for treating hives:

- Watch for other signs that might signal life-threatening anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. If the itchy welts on your skin are followed by wheezing, runny nose, paleness, cold sweats or dizziness, call an ambulance immediately.

- Stop exercising until several days after hives have disappeared.

- Don’t get hot, sweaty or excited. This aggravates hives.

- Don’t take hot baths or hot showers.

- Stop taking any drugs, including over-the-counter ones, unless they are specifically prescribed for you. Call your doctor if you’re taking a prescription drug.

- If your doctor agrees, you might try a nonprescription antihistamine containing either diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine. These drugs fight the itchy process.

- Don’t eat or drink any more of what you ate or drank during the last three to four hours before the itching began. Eliminate those foods to see if the hives go away. Keep a food diary to determine what triggers the attack.

- Lay off alcoholic beverages, coffee and other caffeine-containing foods or drinks. These make hives more.

- Wear only loose, nonconstricting underwear. Protect your skin from irritations to avoid another flare-up.

- Take a bath in cool or lukewarm water. Soak for up to half an hour several times a day for relief.

- Apply cool, moistened cotton cloths as compresses to the itchy areas several times a day. Experiment with rubbing an ice cube on an especially itchy welt. If it helps, try some more ice cubes.

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Guimo Pantuhan
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Elaine P. N.
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Elaine P. N.

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