Picture this: it’s a normal weekday and you’re having a relaxing lunch with a friend when suddenly your neck starts to itch. You reach up to scratch it to get some relief and you feel it – a huge bump that wasn’t there just a few minutes ago. Already suspecting the worst, you excuse yourself to the restroom and confirm your fears: red splotches cover your neck and chest, and a few are even creeping up onto your face – hives.
Stinging, burning, or “just” itching, hives can be a nightmare for anyone. And it goes beyond the pain and irritation, because they can appear anywhere on your body – and we mean anywhere. Just a few of the worst places that might be affected by hives include:
- – Face
- – Hands
- – Tongue
- – Genitals
- – Throat
- – Ears
- – Lips
- – Buttocks
- – and Feet
Bad outbreaks of hives can impact your ability to get around, work, make you feel awkward in social situations, and even affect your love life.
Plus, hives can be caused by practically anything, including but not limited to a wide variety of foods, some drugs and vitamin supplements, stress, insect bites, cosmetics, exercise, rubbing and scratching, fever, sunlight, and even heat and cold. Basically, if something can cause any kind of allergic reaction, it can cause an outbreak of hives.
But the worst thing about hives is that you never know how long they’re going to last. It can be as little as a few hours of discomfort to six or more weeks of horror. Thankfully, there are a number of natural home remedies that you can use to help you through the outbreak by easing the symptoms and even cutting down on the amount of time you have to deal with them. Read on for a few treatments that you probably have just lying around the house.
Home Remedies for Hives Treatment
Cold compresses or baths.
Unless you’re one of those poor rare souls whose hives are actually caused by the cold, taking a cold bath or using a cold compress can really help. Some people even like applying ice cubes directly to the hives. The cold makes the blood cells shrink and prevents any more hive-inducing histamine from being released. For even more help, add colloidal oatmeal to the bath water to relieve the itching.
Use a lotion with aloe vera on your skin and you’ll be able to get rid of much of the pain, redness, itching, and inflammation as it cools your tissues. Take it in pill form and aloe vera will help to eliminate inflammatory toxins and increase your immunity.
If your hives are caused by stress, relieving that stress can get them to go away. One of the easiest ways to do that is by brewing yourself a calming cup of herbal tea and trying to relax. Help this process along by engaging in meditation or doing some yoga to put your mind at ease and distance yourself from your body.
Another way to get your blood vessels to shrink and put a stop to further histamine is to apply witch hazel to your hives. Because it’s an astringent, it essentially dries out the affected area. Calamine lotion has a similar effect.
Say what? Yes, that’s right, pineapple. Most people have no idea, but pineapple is actually a better anti-inflammatory than a lot of drugs out there. It also lowers the allergic response you have and helps you to heal faster. How do you use it? Apply it right to the hives if you’re already suffering from an outbreak, or eat more of it to lessen your chances of another bout.
Baking soda and cream of tartar.
I’m putting both of these together because the general idea is the same with each: you’re using it as a paste that you rub on the hives to reduce irritation and itching. Simply add small amounts of water and stir until you get that paste-like consistency you’re looking for. Then go to town!
Drinking a glass or two of orange juice probably isn’t going to help you all that much, but researchers have found that high doses of vitamin C (2,000 mg a day or more) can lower your levels of histamine. Because histamine actually makes you break out, this may be a good way to prevent an attack. Make sure you talk to your doctor before going on a vitamin C binge though, because too much can cause even bigger issues, such as diarrhea and even kidney stones.
This spice works wonders on hives (not to mention a number of other skin inflammations) because it’s a natural antioxidant and antihistamine that works to stimulate the anti-inflammatory corticosteroids in your body. And since we’re already talking about helpful spices, you might want to try bathing in basil tea. It may sound strange, but the Chinese believe that doing so helps cure hives. You’ll want to add the basil to boiling water to create a tea, then let it cool to room temperature before washing with it.
Fish oil (and some fish).
Why? Because these fatty acids are rife with anti-inflammatory properties that will keep your skin from breaking out. For the fish oil to work, you’ll need to take three 1,000 mg capsules each day. Some fish are also helpful because they have the same fatty acids – albacore tuna and salmon are two of the most common.
Want to soothe that frustrating itching? Mix a tablespoon of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of vinegar and then soak up the mixture with a cotton ball. Press the cotton ball over your hives and prepare to feel relief. Vinegar also plays a role in another Chinese remedy. You mix it with brown sugar and ginger, then boil all three of them together. Add warm water to this mixture and apply it to your skin several times a day and it’s supposed to help.
These are just a few of the many things that can be found around your house to bring you relief from hives, so don’t give up if you don’t have any of the items mentioned. Look around a bit and you’re sure to find something that’s just sitting in your kitchen or in your bathroom cabinet.