Friday, November 25, 2022

Anti Itch Medication For Hives

Do Use Otc Antihistamines

Hives Symptoms and Remedy | DOTV

A 24-hour over-the-counter antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, or diphenhydramine , can help relieve itching and discomfort, says Sarina Elmariah, MD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Antihistamines are designed to reduce or block histamine, a chemical in your body thats responsible for hives welt-like bumps and itching. If you break out in hives again after the medicine wears off, take it for three to five days and then stop to see if you get more hives. If so, you should see your doctor, Dr. Elmariah says and you can continue taking the antihistamine until you do so or your doctor tells you otherwise.

Taking medication at this point is more about preventing another versus treating the existing one, says Adam Friedman, MD, a professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC.

But don’t reach for aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they could make your hives worse, he says.

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Whats The Deal With Chronic Hives

When hives last longer than 6 weeks, theyre considered chronic, says Dr. Rose. An autoimmune condition or physical stimulus are the most common causes of chronic hives, she says. Very often the cause is idiopathic, meaning the trigger is unknown.

To find a cause, doctors may explore your medical history and run laboratory tests. But according to Dr. Marks-Cogan, only 20% of patients with chronic hives ever learn what the cause is.

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What Kinds Of Allergies Cause Hives

Hives are a type of immune reaction that develops very quickly, says Blair Murphy Rose, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. The most common allergic triggers of hives are medication and food allergies, says Dr. Rose. Common medications linked to hives include:

The list above is not exhaustive, of course. And medications arent the only cause of hives. Many things can spark your bodys immune system to overreact and create an itchy rash.

Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold, are common agitators, says Katie Marks-Cogan, MD. Shes a board-certified allergist who practices in Los Angeles. She also notes that contact allergens, such as saliva from cats or dogs, can cause hives.

Infections and insect bites and stings might also be responsible. And then there is the list of physical causes. For some people, heat or sunlight can do it. So can pressure or rubbing from clothing. In some people, even vibrations can spark hives.

Another condition related to hives is angioedema, or rapid swelling, just beneath the skin. This tends to be more painful than itchy, says Dr. Marks-Cogan. It usually occurs in the lips, mouth, eyelids, face, larynx, extremities and genitalia, she says.

Can Stress Or Anxiety Cause Chronic Hives

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Stress and anxiety can worsen skin diseases. Anti-anxiety medicines may help. You may also benefit from stress-relieving therapies like mindfulness or meditation.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Chronic hives can be itchy and uncomfortable. You may become self-conscious about your appearance. Most of the time, providers cant pinpoint the cause of chronic hives. However, treatments like antihistamines, steroids and even immunosuppressants can help. You can also take steps at home to ease itching and swelling. For many people, chronic hives eventually go away, although it may take a year or longer.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/02/2022.

References

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Try A Couple Of Simple Steps First

Its fine to try an OTC itch reliever right away for bug bites and rashes. For other problems, keeping itchy skin cool could ease the urge to scratch a little, Yosipovitch says. Turn on a fan or air conditioning in hot weather or sleep with your itchy body part outside the covers at night, for instance. Sometimes ice water compresses can help soothe itchy skin, and sometimes cold plain yogurt or cold cows milk compresses can relieve mild itch without needing any over-the-counter or prescription medications, Krant says.

And no matter what’s behind the itch, using a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer two to three times a day could help.

If it’s simple dryness causing your itch, use soaps and body washes that are mild, unscented, and free of alcohol. Because soap and water can wash away protective skin-surface oils, keep baths and showers short, and use tepid water. Moisturize afterward, while skin is still slightly damp. Skip long, hot showers and large amounts of soap. Both can dry your skin, leading to itching, Krant says.

If gentle skin care and plenty of moisturizer are not helping your itch, it may be time to try an OTC anti-itch product,” Krant says.

Goodsense Allergy Relief Loratadine Tablets

GoodSense is a well-known brand in the antihistamine market, with its Loratadine Tablets third on the list of top-rated medicines for hives. What makes it a viable option for a lot of people is that its very affordable, costing only a fraction of what other medications might cost. At such a low price point, people looking for an antihistamine to keep in stock for family or office use can get great value for their money with GoodSense.

Of course, while it is relatively effective, loratadine has been known to work only on a select fraction of the population. This means that you may or may not experience relief when you use this antihistamine. In the even that it doesnt provide positive outcomes, it would be necessary to choose a different drug all together.

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Natural Or Herbal Remedies

Natural remedies involve the use of plant-based medicines to provide symptom relief. There is not much evidence that these remedies work for chronic hives. The FDA does not regulate natural remedies.6

Certain natural remedies may briefly cool or soften your skin. Some OTC natural remedies that may be helpful in chronic hives include:6

  • Adding baking soda to a bath
  • Vinegar and water applied with a cotton ball
  • Aloe vera gels or creams to cool the itch
  • Colloidal oatmeal as a lotion or a bath additive
  • Witch hazel, which acts as an astringent

Talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies. Some medicines worsen symptoms instead of improving them. Your doctor may suggest that you first try products on unaffected skin. If you do not have any irritation, they should be safe to apply to hives.4

Some natural remedies can interact with other medicines you are taking. Before beginning treatment for chronic hives, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

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Best For Dry Skin: Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly

If you’re deeping with dryness, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of good old petroleum jelly. “Triple purified petrolatum forms a protective seal over the skin to help repair, protect, and soothe inflammation and reduce itch,” Dr. Zeichner tells Health. “It can be used for itches related to dry skin, conditions like eczema, or even healing burns. Apply a thin layer to the skin twice daily or more often as needed.”

When You Have Flare

  • Make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist, allergist, or primary care doctor. Most people who have hives are otherwise healthy, but its still helpful to see a doctor.A thorough medical exam can help rule out possible causes, such as an infection or medication, which could be causing your hives.Its also possible for a disease, such as a thyroid condition, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes to cause hives. If signs indicate that this may be the cause, medical testing can find or rule out these causes.While medications and medical conditions can cause hives, there are many other causes, including foods, insect bites, and pressure on the skin. Sometimes, its not possible to find the cause. If that happens, your dermatologist can still recommend lifestyle changes and prescribe medication that can help reduce your flare-ups.

  • Take photos of your hives. When your see your dermatologist, you may not have hives. Taking pictures can help your dermatologist make sure you have hives. Other skin conditions can look like hives.

  • Relieve the itch at home. Itch is common in people who have chronic hives. Here are some ways to get temporary relief:

  • Avoid overheating.
  • Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes.
  • Apply a cold compress, such as ice cubes wrapped in a washcloth, to the itchy skin several times a dayunless cold triggers your hives.
  • Use anti-itch medication that you can buy without a prescription, such as an antihistamine or calamine lotion.
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    What Are Chronic Hives

    Chronic hives are itchy, raised, red bumps or welts that appear on your skin at least twice per week. These welts, also called wheals, are chronic when they last more than six weeks.

    You may hear this condition called chronic idiopathic urticaria:

    • Chronic: A symptom or condition that persists even with treatment.
    • Idiopathic: The symptom or condition occurs for no known reason. It comes on suddenly.
    • Urticaria: The medical term for hives, pronounced ur-tik-CARE-ee-uh.

    Common Signs & Symptoms

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    Symptoms of hives can include:

    • Swelling of the surface of the skin into red or skin-colored welts with clearly defined edges.
    • Wheals are typically round or oval and can get bigger, spread, and join together to form larger areas of flat, raised skin.
    • Wheals can also change shape, disappear, and reappear within minutes or hours.
    • You know you have hives when you press the center of a wheal and it turns white. This is called blanching.
    • Itching

    Hives can appear on any area of the body, especially on the trunk, thighs, upper arms and face.

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    Sometimes Hives Require Immediate Medical Attention Heres When To Act Quickly

    If you have any breathing issues, you should seek immediate medical attention. Hives are often associated with a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis and a condition called angioedema, where tissue in your face, lips, tongue, throat and even genitals can swell. Both conditions warrant a trip to the emergency room.

    Also, if you have abdominal pain or fever associated with hives, seek immediate medical care, Elmariah says.

    Treatments Doctors Use For Hives

    Doctors usually prescribe antihistamines as a first course of treatment for hives. Acute cases can generally be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl, Claritin , Allegra , and Zyrtec .

    If your hives are persisting , your doctor may move to another class of antihistamines called H2 antihistamines, including Tagamet , Pepcid , and Zantac up the dose of antihistamines or combine several antihistamines, Friedman says.

    In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an oral steroid, such as prednisone, if your hives still arent responding. Oral steroids are stronger, but can cause more significant side effects than antihistamines.

    If youre still not seeing results, your doctor may recommend even stronger medications, like an injectable prescription medication called omalizumab . Theres also evidence that some off-label drugs like cyclosporine , light therapies like narrowband UVB phototherapy, and vitamin D supplementation can help. Some studies, including one published in the April 2014 issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, have shown that 4,000 international units of vitamin D a day is effective, Friedman says.

    Its important to note that you shouldnt try taking high doses of vitamin D or any other off-label medication on your own without instruction from your doctor. No one treatment works for everyone, Friedman says. And for some, such therapies may not be safe.

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    What Helps Hives Besides Antihistamines

    Hives generally go away in a few hours, but some people may live with chronic hives or regular episodes. Here are a few proven home remedies that can help soothe your itchy skin:

    • Use a cold compress:Apply an ice pack or washcloth soaked in cold water to your skin for 10 minutes to provide rapid relief from pain and itchiness. You may repeat it several times throughout the day until symptoms subside.
    • Use anti-itch cream: Calamine lotion, menthol, capsaicin or hydrocortisone creams are the most effective in quickly relieving skin discomfort. Other topical anesthetics such as lidocaine cream can provide relief against long term itching or pain.
    • Take a cool bath: Heat can make itching worse while cool water can soothe the skin.
    • Avoid triggers: If you are repeatedly experiencing episodes of hives, keep a symptom diary to help you identify foods, allergens , chemicals, activities or medications that might be provoking allergic reactions. Avoid any triggers that you discover in your diary.

    Lastly, to learn more about itchy skin and hives, read Curist team member Waverlyâs story about her experiences diagnosing chronic hives and treating itchy skin.

    What Is The Difference Between Acute Vs Chronic Hives

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    The main differences between acute and chronic hives are how long the symptoms last and what their respective triggers are. Acute hives are short-term they can last for less than a day or up to six weeks. They can be triggered by coming into contact with an allergen such as food, animal dander, insect bite, latex or pollen. Acute hives can also occur from non-allergic causes such as heat, exercise or stress. Being able to identify and avoid these triggers can help prevent this allergic reaction from occurring.

    Chronic hives, on the other hand, can stick around for a longer period of time . Most chronic hives are idiopathic, meaning that the exact cause is unknown. Only a small percentage of chronic hives are due to an allergic reaction.

    Regardless of whether you have acute or chronic hives , antihistamines will be your mainstay of treatment options to help relieve symptoms.

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    Hives Occur In The Skin And Are Common

    Up to 20% of people will develop hives at some time during their life. In most cases, hives are not due to allergy. Underneath the lining of the skin and other body organs are mast cells. Mast cells contain chemicals including histamine. When these are released into the skin they irritate nerve endings to cause local itch and irritation and make local blood vessels expand and leak fluid, triggering redness and swelling.

    What Causes Chronic Hives

    For most people with chronic hives, theres no known cause. Rarely, medication allergies or food allergies cause chronic hives. The most common allergic cause is something you consume on a regular basis. Other types of allergies may also bring on chronic hives.

    Some people develop chronic hives when their body changes temperature rapidly due to heat, cold or physical activity. Pressure on your skin from tight clothing may also cause the condition.

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    Lifestyle And Home Remedies

    Chronic hives can go on for months and years. They can interfere with sleep, work and other activities. The following self-care tips may help you manage your condition:

    • Avoid triggers. These can include foods, medications, pollen, pet dander, latex and insect stings. If you think a medication caused your welts, stop using it and contact your primary care provider. Some studies suggest that stress or fatigue can trigger hives.
    • Use a nonprescription anti-itch drug. A nonprescription anti-itch pill that doesnt cause drowsiness may help ease itching. Examples include loratadine and cetirizine .
    • Apply cold. Soothe the skin by covering the itchy area with a cold washcloth or rubbing an ice cube over it for a few minutes.
    • Take a comfortably cool shower or bath. Some people might relieve itching in the short term by taking a cool shower or bath. Try sprinkling the bath water with baking soda or oatmeal powder .
    • Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion. Try a cream with menthol for a soothing effect.
    • Wear loose, smooth-textured cotton clothing. Avoid wearing clothing thats rough, tight, scratchy or made from wool.
    • Protect your skin from the sun. Liberally apply sunscreen about a half hour before going outdoors. When outdoors, seek shade to help relieve discomfort.
    • Track your symptoms. Keep a diary of when and where hives occur, what you were doing, what you were eating, and so on. This may help you and your health care provider identify triggers.

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