Hives are very common, affecting around 20% of the population at some time, so there are many people searching for home remedies for hives.
Hives or urticaria come in many types and can have many causes. Often, the cause is the key to the treatment. In many cases, hives are a reaction to allergy. This may be a food allergy or a reaction to a substance in the environment. Common foods that may cause allergy include shellfish, nuts, eggs, wheat, soy. Hives caused by food allergy form very quickly and are usually easily traced back to the allergen. If you are not sure what you may be allergic to, you can have a test at the dermatologist’s office.
Hives occur when the capillaries in the epidermis below the skin leak fluid. The fluid gathers to form a hive or wheal below the skin. In most cases, the body will reabsorb the fluid after a certain length of time and the hives disappear naturally. However, this can take several weeks. Some people even have chronic hives which never seem to go away. In any case, while hives are present they are red, inflamed and often intensely itchy, so many people seek out home remedies for hives.
The normal medical treatment for hives is an antihistamine which reduces the itching. Some antihistamines can cause sleepiness, so they should not be taken if you have to drive or operate machinery.
There are also many natural treatments that may reduce the itching. These include vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel or cool compression with a bag of frozen peas or ice. A cold shower may help.
Oatmeal is helpful for some sufferers. You can make a paste with 1 cup of natural oatmeal (no added ingredients), 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a little water. Spread this over the hives. Or put 3 cups of oatmeal into your bath – but don’t forget to think of a way to catch it when you let out the water, or it will block your pipes!
You can also try drinking nettle tea. This is a herbal tea that can be bought from health food stores, or you can dry your own clean nettle leaves.
In chronic cases it is better to look for the cause of the hives. Often there is an underlying cause which needs treatment too. The person may be allergic to something that can be avoided, or there may be a yeast infection or thyroid disease that is causing the hives. So it is important to see your doctor when you have hives in case there is something more serious behind the condition. Do not rely completely on home remedies for hives.