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How Do I Relieve Hives Itching?

Small cluster of hives.
Anti-itch cream can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
An oral antihistamine may be taken to treat hives itching.
A bottle of calamine lotion, which can help with hives.
Article Details
  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Many people suffer from hives itching at some point in their lives, and when the symptom appears, it can be quite uncomfortable. For quick relief, over-the-counter ointments, such as calamine lotion, can be dabbed on the inflamed, red welts. Sometimes, oral antihistamine medication is needed, which is also typically available without a prescription. If medicines are not accessible, you can try applying a cool compress to your skin. Regardless of the remedy you choose, do your best to avoid scratching the area, which can worsen skin irritation.

While it may be tempting to scratch your itchy skin, doing so can make symptoms worse. The constant friction of your nails, or simply scratching with too much force, may break your tender skin. When this happens, it can lead to additional discomfort. Sometimes, it even triggers infection.

Instead of scratching, try applying a cool compress to ease the itchiness. You should avoid using ice cubes directly on the skin, though, because it will probably be too cold and uncomfortable. It may even cause superficial burns. A cold water bottle pressed against the welt for a few minutes is usually much more effective and less likely to cause any damage. In many cases, it offers immediate relief.

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Some individuals are prone to random outbreaks of red, itchy welts during periods of extreme stress or anxiety. Once the source of the stress is eliminated, the hives itching will often subside as well. In the meantime, since sweating and moisture can exacerbate symptoms and increase skin irritation, keep the skin cool and dry. Even though the symptom may be uncomfortable, it is usually harmless and easy to treat.

When hives itching occurs as a result of an allergic reaction, over-the-counter oral antihistamine medications are sometimes necessary. This is especially true when widespread welting occurs. The medicine can be quite effective in relieving other allergy symptoms as well, such as watery eyes and a stuffy nose.

There are some side-effects to oral antihistamines, however. In general, marked drowsiness is the most bothersome. Many people have difficulty staying awake after taking the recommended dose of the medicine. If you choose to take the drug for allergy symptom relief, it is important not to drive or do anything else that requires alertness.

In rare cases, severe allergy symptoms may accompany hives itching. Difficulty breathing or severe swelling, for example, is considered serious. Emergency medical attention should be sought if these symptoms are present.

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