Hives is a chronic skin condition often caused due to certain allergens. Also, known as Chronic Urticaria, it is usually caused when some toxic substance reacts badly with the body and releases histamine into the skin blood vessels. Allergens like nuts, berries, chocolates, shrimps, milk and other dairy products could be blamed for hives. Insect stings, bacterial infections, flower pollen, dust mites or sunlight exposure may also lead to the appearance of hives. When affected, it is difficult to resist scratching even though it worsens the condition and interferes with your daily tasks and sleep pattern. It results in the appearance of red color, swollen bumps on the skin which may sting a lot. They vary in size, last for hours, days or even weeks before fading away, and may appear anywhere on the body, involving the tongue, face, arms, chest, throat or legs. The symptoms include excessive itching, sneezing, dizziness, tightened chest, heavy breath or swelled up face. Although, anti-histamines and anti-allergens are generally used to get rid of hives, here are a few home remedies to alleviate the irritation caused by hives and bring some much needed relief.
Home Remedies for Hives
1. Appropriate Outfit
Clothing plays an important role. Wear loose and soft cotton clothes to get rid of hives. Cotton lets your skin breathe, soaks sweat with ease and does not cause friction unlike silk or tightly fitted which aggravate the irritation (1).
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is highly effective in reducing the effects of histamine and helps relieve the pain and discomfort caused from hives. This is because vitamin consumption is extremely beneficial for the skin and enhances immunity of the body. Apply gel or cream containing mixture of vitamin C & zinc on your skin, and let it soak for immediate results. Do this twice a day.
Lemon balm contains vitamin C and it is extensively used to treat herpes (2).
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
The vinegar made of apples mixed with yeast and bacteria helps get rid of hives instantly. It also contains probiotics which are very beneficial to get rid of hives (3).
Apply a paste, prepared from the mixture of apple cider vinegar and corn starch, on the affected area after the bath. Since, the skin is soft and highly absorbing then.
4. Cold Bath
Instead of worrying about what to apply or what to drink, take a cold water bath for instant relief. It helps shrink the skin blood vessels and provides solace from the itchy skin (4).
5. Uncooked Oatmeal
Scratching promotes chronic hives aggressively. Itching causes irritation and needs to be treated soon before the condition worsens. Uncooked oatmeal helps relieve the itchy feeling and soothes the redness (6, 7).
Rub a solution of baking soda and uncooked oatmeal on the problematic area to ease pain and restore the softness of skin. Protect the affected skin area by placing a cold cloth on it after applying the solution.
6. Ice Bags (Cold Compress)
It is advisable to apply ice-cold compress for 15-20 minutes to get relief from itching caused due to hives. Ice-bag helps shrink the blood vessels. Thus, creates hindrance in the release of histamine into the bloodstream and provide immediate relief (8).
Applying cold milk compresses on the problematic area is beneficial owing to the soothing properties of milk.
7. Baking Soda
A bath with baking soda is always a good idea because of its curing properties when it comes to skin ailments. Alternatively, applying a diluted paste of baking soda & water on swollen welts provides immediate relief (9).
8. Wear Gloves
Wearing gloves prevent you from scratching the open welts, and do not let the infection spread further.
9. Avoid Triggers
If you have successfully figured out which substance causes allergic reaction in your body, make sure you avoid it completely in future. In case, there are any insects or ants in your house, inform the local pest control agency and get them removed from the house (10).
These microbes have health benefits if consumed daily. The live bacteria and yeasts present in probiotic foods minimize exasperating reactions caused by environmental allergens (11).
11. Fish Oil
Fish oil capsules are rich in fatty acids and destroy hives (12).
Salmon, tuna, trout and bluefish are some varieties that help reduce inflammation caused due to hives.
Simply, add a tsp of turmeric in a glass of lukewarm milk and drink it two times a day. Besides, you can consume its supplements if a doctor advises so or add it while cooking your everyday meal.
Note: If you are prescribed to take the blood thinner, avoid using turmeric.
Herbal Remedies for Hives
13. Stinging Nettle
Apply the extract of a stinging needle on the hives prone area. Prepare the stinging needle extract very cautiously, since fine hairs of nettle can aggravate the skin condition and reduce swelling (15).
Use this remedy daily to obtain the desired results.
14. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera comprises of ingredients that help check the itchiness caused due to hives (16).
Squeeze out the gel from aloe vera leaf, and apply it directly on the skin. Leave it as it is for about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Practice this habit twice a day for healthy skin.
15. Red Alder Bark
This bark is highly powerful to get rid of hives. Rub the Red Alder bark extract directly on the skin for soothing effect.
Alternatively, you may steep the bark and its leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes and drink the tea daily, as many times as possible for good results. Or else, use this decoction on the affected part (17).
16. Green Tea
Consume the brewed tea made from leaves 2-3 times a day. Add honey for better flavour. Have it daily to reduce the frequency of spells.
17. Licorice Root Tea
Tea made from licorice root helps soothe the inflammation caused due to hives. Infuse for 15 minutes to make tea and add honey to enhance its taste. Drink it once a day to acquire positive effects (20).
Note: This is not recommended for people who are on diabetes medication.
18. Witch Hazel
It is mainly known for astringent properties. Basically, it constricts the skin blood vessels, and makes it harder for the body to release histamine which aggravates the condition (21).
Apply the witch hazel lotion or cream on the affected area of skin, leave it on for few minutes and then wash it off for the best results.
It reduces the sudden rush of blood in capillaries, due to the natural anti-histamine and anti inflammatory properties. Thus, prevents occurrence of hives (22).
Have this in form of ginger tea or ginger pops, which you can sip throughout the day.
20. Chamomile Tea
Brew chamomile leaves for 10 minutes, and add sugar or honey to enhance the taste of tea. Drinking 3-5 cups a day help relieve stress.
The antioxidants present in mint soothe the burning sensation and lessen irritation. Boil a cup of water and steep two tsp of mint leaves (fresh) in it for a couple of minutes. Strain the solution and keep it in the refrigerator. Now, rinse the inflamed area with this chilled solution 3-4 times a day.
Menthol obtained from mint is very useful to get rid for hives as it has soothing effect on the skin (24).
Crush dried basil leaves and add hot water to it. Cover it with a lid and let it cool. Use a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area.
23. Thyme oil
The anti bacterial properties of thyme oil are used for the treatment of hives (26).
24. Tea Tree oil
This oil is tropically used to treat bacterial infections. Apply it directly on skin to reduce itching and inflammation (27).
- If the condition prolongs for more than a month, approach for medical help before it gets more serious.
- Practice meditation and yoga to keep stress at bay and minimise the chances of getting attacked by urticaria.
- Identify your trigger factors and avoid them (28).
- After taking bath, apply lubricating cream, moisturiser or Vaseline for a soothing effect while your skin is still tender (29).
- Eat lean and organic food products.
- Apply calamine lotion on the itchy skin. It reduces the allergic response of the body and intercepts the leakage of histamine in the blood stream (30, 31).
- Avoid eggs, nuts, soy, processed foods, milk and other dairy products that may cause allergic reactions.
- Refrain from meat products with excess fat content.
- Don’t take hot showers (32).
- Keep away from direct sunlight.