The best way to treat hives is to try to identify if there is a cause causing your symptoms and to avoid it as much as possible so that the hives don’t reoccur. In addition, the use of medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids may be recommended by the immunoalergologist.
Hives are a type of allergic skin reaction that can be cured when the cause is identified and treated quickly. Symptoms may spontaneously resolve or treatment may be needed to relieve the intense discomfort it causes. When urticaria symptoms last longer than 6 weeks, it is considered chronic and, therefore, it may be more difficult to control, in which case medical advice is even more important. Learn how to identify hives.
The main forms of treatment for urticaria are:
1. Avoid the causes
The simplest and most effective way to treat urticaria is to identify the agent causing the symptoms and thus avoid contact. The most common causes of triggering an allergic skin reaction are:
- Consumption of some types of food, especially eggs, peanuts, shellfish or walnuts;
- Frequent use of medications, such as antibiotics, Aspirin or Ibuprofen;
- Contact with some objects from everyday life, mainly made with latex or nickel;
- Mites or contact with fur of animals;
- insect bites;
- Physical stimuli, such as skin pressure, cold, heat, excessive exercise or exposure to the sun;
- frequent infections, such as flu, colds or urinary infections;
- Exposure to some plants or pollen.
To help identify what may be causing the emergence of urticaria, the allergist can recommend testing for allergies that allow you to identify some specific causes of dermatitis, such as sensitivity to mites or pet dander, for example. Understand how allergy testing is done.
However, when the cause cannot be found through the various allergy tests available, it is recommended to keep a food and medication diary, trying to identify if any of these might be causing or aggravating the hives.
2. Use of antihistamines
The use of antihistamine drugs, popularly known as anti-allergy, is recommended when it is not possible to identify the cause, it is difficult to avoid contact with the triggering agent of urticaria or when the symptoms are very uncomfortable and can interfere with the day’s activities -to-day. Therefore, it is recommended to consult the allergist so that the best antihistamine for each case is indicated, to help alleviate the symptoms.
Generally, this type of medication can be used for a long period of time, as they do not have many side effects, and can be taken daily to reduce symptoms such as itchiness and redness of the skin.
In addition, some homemade techniques, such as applying cold compresses to the skin in the affected areas, help to reduce the development of symptoms and the discomfort caused by hives. See a recipe for a great home remedy to relieve hives.
3. Use of corticosteroid drugs
When episodes of very intense symptoms appear, which do not improve with the use of antihistamines, the doctor may increase the dose or recommend the use of corticosteroid drugs, such as Prednisolone, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, but which also presents many side effects, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes or weakening of the bones, and should therefore be used for a short time and always under medical supervision.
4. Association of antihistamines and corticosteroids
The combined use of antihistamines and corticosteroids is recommended by the physician in the case of chronic urticaria, which is when symptoms last longer than 6 weeks, are intense, appear frequently or never disappear. Thus, the treatment for this type of urticaria is made with antihistamines, which can be completed with the use of corticosteroids, such as Hydrocortisone or Betamethasone, which greatly alleviate the symptoms, even when the cause of the urticaria is not avoided.
In addition to antihistamines and corticosteroids, there are other treatments that can help resolve the most difficult to treat urticaria, such as cyclosporine, omalizumab, among others. Learn more about Omalizumab.
In cases where urticaria is accompanied by severe symptoms, such as swelling of the tongue or lips or difficulty breathing, for example, the doctor may recommend using an epinephrine (adrenaline) pen to be injected immediately into the person as soon as these symptoms arise.
Patients with chronic urticaria should be alerted by the allergologist to the warning signs or seriousness that may arise and should learn to act in these situations, which is why guidance in consultation with the specialty is essential.