The treatment of hives (urticaria) will depend to an extent on the type that is occurring. Several cases are due to allergies, and in these instances the best cure is to determine what is causing the allergy. Using this method, you can get rid of the skin rash efficiently.

What Causes Urticaria?

Strawberries, soy products, milk, tomatoes, certain cheese variants and fish may trigger the allergy. Peanuts and wheat may also lead to the disease spreading. Physical urticaria may be caused by water (very rare).

Physical urticaria may also be cholinergic; that is, caused by body heat. This can happen if you exercise after taking a bath. Chronic cold urticaria is triggered by cold water or cold air. The condition gets worse if the weather change is sudden.

In some cases, the disease is caused by wearing ill fitting bra straps, belts, underwear and other clothing. Dermatographic urticaria is caused by skin scratching.

If you are able to track down the cause of the allergy, the skin disease will be very easy to manage. Once you steer clear of the allergic trigger, the skin rashes will no longer occur.

Idiopathic Cases

These are cases of urticaria that have no known cause. A lot of chronic cases are idiopathic in nature. In these cases, treatment of hives can be hard. Until the root cause has been determined the only thing the medication can do is to deal with the symptoms.

Drug Treatments

This usually consists of H1 receptor antagonists like cetirizine. The purpose of these treatments is to prevent the spread of the rashes. H2-receptor antagonists (i.e., ranitidine and cimetidine) may be taken together with the H1 receptor antagonists. However, this will also depend on the severity of the rashes.

Corticosteroids may be prescribed for short term use. Even then, it will only be done if the patient does not respond to the other drug treatments. Various types of antihistamines may be given to the patient too.

Alternative Cures

Those who prefer natural methods have several options. Applying calamine lotion or aloe vera can provide relief from the itchiness.

Other natural forms of treatment include applying milk of magnesia on the afflicted areas. If the rashes are caused by stress, drinking herbal teas help. Popular choices are chamomile, catnip and peppermint.

If the itchiness persists, try mixing ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of cornstarch into a tub of warm water. Spend a few minutes in it once every day. Applying vitamin E oil on the afflicted spots reduces itching.

How Urticaria is Formed

The condition develops when histamine (a chemical) is produced by mast cells. The presence of histamine causes leaks in the blood vessels. The dripping fluid goes to the tissues.

It is these leakages that cause the skin to appear reddish. Allergies and other circumstances can cause the mast cells to release this chemical.

The treatment of hives should be conducted as soon as possible. While it is not fatal, other skin problems and symptoms may appear if it is left unattended to.