Urticaria is the medical term for hives. Idiopathic urticaria is the medical term for hives without a determined cause, meaning the doctor and patient do not know why the hives are occurring. This is the type of hives that most people experience, including myself. Hives are usually an allergic reaction, it’s the body releasing histamines that produces hives, yet many times people do not know what they are allergic to. If you have a recurring case of hives, know that you are not alone, this is an issue that many people deal with on both an acute and chronic level. Acute hives are classified as being present less than six weeks and are usually the result of an allergic reaction, perhaps to something you ate or a new product you are using such as a different laundry detergent. Hives lasting more than six weeks are deemed chronic and can involve causes other than an allergic reaction such as a viral issue or autoimmune condition.
I recently got hives all over my neck and could not figure out why. Usually there is a change in behavior or hygiene ritual that will allow you to pinpoint what you are having an allergic reaction to. Start by thinking about any new products you have begun using or foods you’ve began eating regularly that you didn’t used to eat or use in the past. Often times an ingredient in something as simple as a new laundry detergent brand can be the reason that people develop hives. Topicals such as lotions, shaving creams and body soap should also be considered as possible causes. You must think of everything you have been introduced to for the first time since the hives begun. Maybe you started dating someone recently and you’re having an allergic reaction to their perfume or shampoo (or maybe their personality).
If your hives are recurring it’s a good idea to write down everything you ate and came in contact that day that your hives flared up. It can take quite some time to determine the root cause of hives, so it’s best to be patient and start narrowing things down by trial and error. What makes how to get rid of hives even more tricky is that we as humans can suddenly develop allergies to things for no given reason. For example a product you’ve been using for years you can suddenly start having allergic reactions to, like a face wash or deodorant, even food items as well, such as peanuts. This can make it nearly impossible to diagnose the cause of hives as we tend to overlook the things that have been in our lives for years as possible causes, leading us right back to majority population that have idiopathic urticaria.
Hives are most often treated with antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin) and other over the counter allergy medicines. If your hives are itchy there are topical creams such as hydrocortisone that you can put on them to stop the itching. Antihistamines should help take care of any itching as well, however all medications have side effects and antihistamines are known to make you very drowsy. If you are suffering from chronic urticaria then your treatment plan is going to be a bit more complex as you can’t be taking meds that cause drowsiness everyday. There are non-drowsy antihistamines such as loratadine and certain steroids like medrol dose packs that your doctor may put you on to stop the body’s allergic response. You really don’t want to be taking these long term though as every person will experience some sort of side effects. Steroids used for idiopathic urticaria have been linked to weight gain, diabetes and other adverse effects.
Everyone wants to know, “how to get rid of hives” but the truth is there is no one wonder medication that will cure hives. In fact most treatments simply treat the symptoms (hives), your body is still having the allergic reaction. I have found personally that diphenhydramine works great for reducing the appearance of hives, but I can only take it at night for it causes severe drowsiness, diphenhydramine is the main ingredient in many over the counter night time sleep aids, such as Tylenol PM.
Another product that I have found that has worked great for me is OxyHives. What I love about this product is that it’s an all natural remedy that has no side effects. It’s a sub-lingual spray that acts fast and doesn’t cause any drowsiness so I’ll use this during the day and then use Benadryl at night if I need extra support. I also like this product because it’s an all natural homeopathic remedy, something I always look to use before resorting to prescription medications, and I’m a health professional who works with pharmaceuticals everyday. In most cases, it’s not necessary to see a doctor for cases of acute hives. It is something that can be self treated with over the counter anti-histamines and if you are proactive in determining the source of your allergic reaction, you can really save some money by not seeing your physician. Many times, when presented with a patient with idiopathic urticaria, physicians will want to run a series of allergy tests. Unless you are suffering from chronic hives this really is not necessary, as it is expensive and a bit painful and there’s no guarantee the results will discover the culprit of your hives.
I suggest starting with anti-histamines at night and a topical cream like hydrocortisone 1% if you’re experiencing severe itching. Try a natural remedy like OxyHives or Hive Away during the day or for recurring hives that require often treatment. These remedies are very similar in ingredients and though I’ve only used OxyHives myself I’ve heard of people having the same great results with Hive Away. Give one of these remedies a try before resulting to expensive prescription medications and physician visits in your quest for how to get rid of hives.