Hives is known as urticaria, wheals, nettle rash or welts. When it occurs, one encounters red and itchy skin rashes that are triggered by something that produces an allergic reaction. There is a reaction to the allergen when the body releases a protein called histamine. Histamine is released in capillaries, which are considered to be the tiniest blood vessels and cause leakage of fluid. This fluid will accumulate in skin and causes rashes. Urticaria can be triggered by certain foods, insects bites and stings, sunlight, water on the skin, extreme temperature, contact with irritants like chemicals and nettles, and certain medications like ACE inhibitors that are used to treat hypertension. The initial step in the treatment for hives is to recognize it and learn how the problem has occurred, and what are the various ways to overcome this issue, as well as what to do at that crucial moment.
Hazardous Causes of Hives
Allergic hives are formed in response to histamine and the blood plasma that leaks out of small blood vessels on the skin. Histamine is a chemical released from the specialized cells that lie along the blood vessels. Allergic reaction is caused by chemicals in certain foods, sunlight exposure, medications or insect strings, and is due to the release of histamine. It is impossible to find exactly why hives are formed.
Types of Hives
There are three main types of hives; each type of hive is caused by a different irritant and demonstrates somewhat divergent symptoms.
- Acute urticaria: This type of hives is commonly caused by the allergic reaction to medicine, insect bites, food or anything else. Certain foods are highly prone to trigger histamine release as compared to other foods. Some examples of trigger foods are: bananas, shellfish, milk, chocolates, and strawberries. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are other foods as well that contain very low levels of histamine. This type of urticaria can be caused by too much of stress and rarely lasts over a period of about 6 weeks.
- Chronic urticaria and Angioedema: This type of hives lasts longer than 6 weeks. Usually, this hives indicates serious disease as compared to reaction due to certain foods.
- Physical urticaria: This type of hives is also less serious and lasts no longer than one hour. These occur due to some physical simulation like heat, cold, sweating, exercise, pressure, vibration or an extensive contact with chemical.
Common Symptoms of Hives
Initially, swelling or a wheal-like appearance appears on the skin as rashes. Usually, they are red or pink color and are either round or oval in shape. It can range from few millimeters in a diameter to several inches. The wheal usually occurs in batches that appear on the face, fingers, feet, toes, arms, hands and legs.
Treating Hives with Natural Home-Made Remedies
- Rice pad: By filling a sock with uncooked grain of rice, you are ready to go for treatment with a cooling or heating pad. It depends on how your skin responds to this type of treatment. The treatment for hives using this method differs from individual to individual; some might like to have a frozen pad that is cool or some might like to have a heat pad that is left for a short time period in a microwave.
- Cold bath: Taking a cold bath helps keep your swelling down. You can alter this cold bath remedy by applying either frozen ice pack on the skin or adding oatmeal to the bath.
- Baking soda: Mix water with a teaspoon of baking soda and apply the mixture to the itchiest location to get relief from the pain.