What are Hives?
Hives (sometimes called urticaria) are red, inflamed bumps that appear on the skin. They are a common condition caused by a reaction to a triggering substance, or sometimes an underlying disease in the body.
Hives can be found anywhere on the body and can be found in small spots, larger welts, or can even blend together into a large wheal (a red, swollen mark) or plaque that can cover large areas of the body.
Hives can appear at any age and are not contagious. They are an extremely common condition, 1 in 5 people will experience hives at some point in their life.
What Causes Hives to Appear?
Hives form as your body responds to a triggering substance or situation. This offending substance stimulates histamine to be released into the blood and causes pockets of fluid to build up under the skin. This fluid creates the red, itchy bumps and inflammation.
Common triggers of hives include:
- Certain foods such as nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, fresh berries, and milk are the most common offenders
- Food additives such as preservatives or pesticides
- Insect stings
- Medications such as anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen) high blood pressure medications, or certain painkillers
- Exposure to extreme sunlight
- Infections or viruses (also common following some vaccinations)
- Internal disease
- Allergens such as pollen, pet dander, latex, etc.
Symptoms of Hives
Hives can manifest in a variety of ways and can be found anywhere on the body. They are commonly pink, or pale red, and are raised and inflamed. Hives vary in size. Small hives may be the size of a pen point, or larger welts may blend together to be the size of a dinner plate.
Hives are extremely itchy, but can also cause a burning or stinging sensation. The red bumps usually begin to clear up after 24 hours but some cases can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the type of hives you are experiencing.
“Before Allergy Elimination Therapy I had major food allergies. If I ate even a little chocolate or coffee, I would get a rash all over my face and my eyes would swell shut. Treatment took about a week. I very cautiously ate some chocolate and drank coffee. I had no reaction. I was shocked! I tried it more times and still no reaction!”* Q.M.
Types of Hives
There are three different types of hives that are classified by the length and cause of the outbreak on the skin.
- Acute Urticaria: These hives are characterized by being short-lived. They last less than six weeks and are most commonly caused by food, medication, insect bites, or infections.
- Chronic Urticaria: These are hives that present in a long term outbreak, lasting more than six weeks.The cause of these hives are harder to determine and could be caused by an underlying infection, disorder (such as thyroid disease) or even cancer.
- Physical Urticaria: These hives are caused by physical stimulation to the skin. Contact with sweat, cold, heat, sun exposure, or even friction such as vibration, scratching, exercise or pressure can cause hives to appear. These hives usually appear 1 hour after exposure.
Managing your Hives Outbreak
Hives are uncomfortable, but there are a few steps you can take to manage the itching and speed up recovery. The following tips can help you manage outbreaks after they have occured:
- Remove the offending trigger (when applicable)
- Cool down the affected area with a cool, damp cloth
- Don’t itch or scratch
- Minimize contact by wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
- If in a warm climate, seek out air conditioning
- Try bathing in cool water and adding oatmeal or baking soda to relieve itching
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Hives are limited to swelling on the outer layer of skin. When large welts form under the skin and begin to inflame deeper tissues such as the eyelids, lips, or throat, this is called Angioedema and can be life threatening. If the following symptoms occur, seek medical help immediately.
- Tightness of chest
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, throat, or face
Natural Hives Treatment
Treatment of hives begins by determining what is triggering the outbreak. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we’ll help you uncover the source of your hives and develop a care plan that will work best for you. A natural hives treatment plan will help alleviate hives and address any underlying issues that may be causing the outbreaks.
LifeWorks Therapies for Hives
A natural approach to hives may include one or more of the following:
Addressing Allergens: allergy elimination and lab tests can help you uncover hidden allergens that are provoking or aggravating your condition.
Dietary Help: In addition to testing for allergens, sometimes an elimination diet is recommended to help patients discover what foods are triggering their condition. Your practitioner will ensure that you are avoiding all dietary triggers while maintaining a balanced diet, free of nutritional deficiencies.
Treatment of Underlying Disease: Addressing an underlying condition can help people who suffer from chronic hives. We can determine if you have an undiagnosed condition that is contributing to your outbreak and recommend any needed treatment.
Nutritional Supplementation: There are many dietary supplements that support a healthy immune system. Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and quercetin may help people who suffer from allergy-related outbreaks such as hives.
Ozone Therapy: Treating the body with ozone can also benefit patients that are suffering from skin conditions. Ozone therapy can be applied topically as in HOCATT or intravenously. It helps support the immune system, oxygenates the blood and naturally fights infections, even when other treatments have failed.
“I love Hocatt. Since I tried it, I didn’t want to stop. After a treatment in the Hocatt, my energy increases so much. I feel lighter and I can do things I haven’t been able to do for a long time. Skin is the biggest organ in the body and I am so pleased my skin responds so well.” –Z
Eliminate Hives Naturally!
The presence of hives, especially chronic outbreaks, can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and even stressful. Stress can actually make hives worse, creating a vicious cycle. Don’t let your hives get in the way of living your life fully.