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Hive (Urticaria) - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Hives, called urticaria by the medical profession, is a skin condition that is characterized by sudden outbreaks of red, itchy welts on the skin. Any area of the body may be affected. The welts may vary in appearance, from tiny, goose 'bump-like spots to rashes that cover significant areas of the body. Hives usually go away within a few hours to two days, but in rare cases they become chronic and may last for six weeks or more.

Hives are common - between 10% and 25% of people get them at least once in their lives. They are usually harmless, though they may occasionally be a sign of a serious allergic reaction. Hives can be a natural reaction to the presence of a foreign substance in the body. However, an offending substance need not enter the body to trigger an outbreak of hives. Merely coming into contact with various substances, such as pesticides, soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, residues from laundry products or dry cleaning chemicals on clothing, or any other of a vast array of other seemingly innocuous household items can unleash a maddening attack of hives.

Hives symptoms and signs

Hives symptoms can vary between sufferers. Some of the common signs and symptoms includes:-

  • Itching of the skin
  • Redness of skin
  • Swelling below the surface of the skin that burns rather than itches, often around the eyes and lips.

Causes of Hives

Some of the common causes of hives are:-

  • Chemicals are a major cause of hives for many people; anything from perfumes to household cleaners can trigger a reaction, as can nervous conditions, stress, certain foods, and alcohol.
  • Antibiotics such as penicillin and related compounds are the most common cause of drug-induced hives. At least 10 percent of the American population is thought to be allergic to penicillin.
  • Sun exposure.
  • Animal dander (especially cats).
  • Viruses also can cause hives. Hepatitis Band Epstein­Barr virus, the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis, are the two most common culprits.

Vitamins and nutrients to cure hives

Suggested dosage
Vitamin C with bioflavonoid 1,000 mg 3 times daily. Enhances immune response; acts as an anti-inflammatory
Vitamin E 600 IU daily. A powerful antioxidant that improves circulation to the skin tissues. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form
Vitamin D3 400 IU daily. To reduce outbreaks.

Home remedies for hives treatment

  • Applying aloe vera gel to the affected area can be helpful.
  • Alfalfa, bilberry extract, eat's claw, chamomile, echinacea, ginseng, licorice, nettle, sarsaparilla, and yellow dock are all beneficial to the hives sufferer. Alfalfa can also be used as a preventive blood tonic. It cleanses the blood and helps keep the body free of toxins. Caution: Do not use chamomile on an ongoing basis, and avoid it completely if you are allergic to ragweed. Do not use ginseng or licorice if you have high blood pressure.
  • Drink tea made with a couple teaspoons of powdered stinging nettles (add honey and/or lemon for flavor). Helps to get rid of hives.
  • Take a cool shower when you see the first signs of hives appearing. Make sure that it is cool, not hot. This may slow the spreading of hives.
  • Take cayenne pepper in capsule form, this will treat the hives.
Considerations and prevention tips
  • If sun exposure is the cause of your hives, apply a strong sunscreen-this will usually alleviate the problem.
  • Avoid alcohol and all processed foods, which put added stress on the body by depleting nutrients. Also avoid dairy products, eggs, chicken, and nuts. Especially avoid foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sugar.
  • Avoid exposure to substances that give you allergic reactions.
  • If you get hives when you're nervous, relaxation breathing exercises may help.
  • If a hives outbreak is the result of a food or drug that you have ingested, you obviously do not want that substance in your body again. If you cannot isolate whatever food or drug it might be that causes hives, having a physician do some blood work to find the allergen may be your only solution, even though this approach can be relatively expensive.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing.

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