Urticaria, also referred to as hives, is a common skin disorder caused by both allergic and non-allergic reactions. Due to the reaction, the skin or tissue releases histamine or chemicals into the bloodstream.
Urticaria can be acute or chronic, showing symptoms for a few weeks to several months. The most notable symptoms are raised, itchy bumps that are either red or skin-colored.
When you press the center of a red bump, it turns white (blanching). There also may be itching as well as burning or stinging sensations. Though not common, additional symptoms include fever, fatigue, digestive problems and muscle soreness.
The symptoms can appear on any area of the body and usually appear suddenly. However, they do not bruise nor leave any scars.
Some common triggers include allergic foods (peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish), certain medications, insect stings or bites, exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures, sun exposure, blood transfusions, bacterial or viral infections, pet dander, pollen and contact with plants like poison oak and poison ivy.
Too much scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise and emotional stress may worsen the symptoms.
To treat and manage urticaria symptoms, you can rely on some effective home remedies. Follow the remedies until your condition improves. However, if the symptoms last more than a month or recur over time, see a doctor.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat and manage urticaria.
1. Cold Compress
A cold compress can be beneficial in reducing urticaria symptoms. The cold temperature helps shrink the blood vessels and block further release of histamine, which in turn reduces itching, swelling and burning sensations.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth and place it on the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat every few hours.
- You can also take a cool shower or bath to get relief.
Note: Never put ice directly on the skin.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy due to its antihistamine and other medicinal properties. Moreover, it can help fight bacterial or viral infections that could be causing or aggravating the problem.
- Add 1 to 2 cups of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a bathtub filled with warm water. Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes once daily.
- Alternatively, dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and use it to wash the affected area a few times a day.
- Another option is to add 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Add a little honey for taste. Drink this twice daily.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps relieve the itching and inflammation associated with hives. In addition, it prevents further irritation.
- Prepare a mixture with 1 part baking soda and 3 parts water. Apply it on the affected area for 1 to 2 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once a day until your condition improves.
- Alternatively, add ½ to 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Mix it well, then soak in this water for 10 minutes once a day.
Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can relieve itching and swelling. It can even help your skin heal quickly.
- Add 1 to 2 cups of finely ground oatmeal to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Soak in it for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath once or twice a day.
- Alternatively, add a little water to ½ cup of oatmeal. Set it aside until it turns into a paste-like consistency. Apply it on the affected skin, leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another effective remedy due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. The gel of aloe vera helps reduce redness, swelling and itching when applied topically. In addition, it is very soothing to the skin.
- Extract fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe leaf.
- Apply it on the affected area and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until the symptoms clear.
The natural antihistamine property of basil makes this herb an effective treatment for acute hives. It can combat itching as well as reduce swelling and burning sensations.
- Make some basil tea and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Use this cool tea to wash the affected area 2 or 3 times a day.
- Alternatively, rub a little basil juice directly on the affected skin. Allow it to dry on its own, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this a few times a day.