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Hives - Conventional and Alternative Treatments

 

Conventional treatment for hives is simple enough -- usually.  You use an antihistamine and the hives go away.

 

And heaven knows there are enough on the market today, like Benadryl,  that help to reduce the swelling and the itching and let you live your life.  And for many individuals that is the sum total of the treatment of hives. If you feel, however, that your particular case is serious enough to 

warrant going to your personal health care practitioner, then by all means go!  The two of you can discuss your medical history, recent activities and she can help you decide exactly what’s causing your hives.  And then she can offer the best possible treatment available.

 

Here’s a word of caution.  Anytime your hives are serious and are constricting your breathing, you must seek emergency medical attention.  This situation can escalate within a very short period of time.  This is no ordinary case of the hives.

 

There are a few medications your doctor can give you, or you can buy over the counter, that will help with moderate to sever hives. Each is a little different, and helps different things.

 

·     Short Acting Type H1 Antihistamines: This includes medications like Benadryl, and are what most people use for mild cases of hives. These are mostly over the counter, inexpensive, and easy to get. Some may cause drowsiness, though, so be careful what you take!

·     Long Acting H1 Antihistamines: Mostly prescription, these are used to also treat mild to moderate cases of hives. Drugs like Allergra and Zyrtec fall into this category; so does Claritin, though, which is widely available without a prescription now. Most of the time, no sleep disturbance is noted, so you can continue with your life.

·     Type H2 Antihistamines: While these drugs aren’t approved by the FDA for use against hives, many doctors opt to prescribe them to improve the swelling and rash of hives. There is a fair amount of evidence supporting their use.

·     Corticosteroids: Taken orally, or through injection, these drugs help relieve symptoms of hives, and reduce the chances of coming back by suppressing the body’s allergic response. While rare, sometimes corticosteroids can be given through an IV or injection.

 

 

When you develop a case of chronic hives, you’ll want to treat it much like any acute version.  The same antihistamines that others take for a short-lived case of the health problem work perfectly well for the long term situation as well.

 

Hives: Natural Treatment

 

If you’re like some individuals, you may not care to rely on antihistamines to relieve your case of the hives.  This may be especially true if the hives tend to reoccur frequently.  Many people say that histamine is a natural reaction of the body.  And as such, we shouldn’t try to artificially block it with medications.  These persons instead prefer to alleviate the symptoms through natural means.

 

And there are several ways to do this.  Here are just a few of the herbs that professional herbalists recommend.  Before starting any program of herbal supplementation. though, check with your personal health care provider.  She’ll be able to advise you if any of the medications you’re taking will interfere with any of the herbs you intend to take.

 

You should also consult with a professional herbalist prior to starting any supplementation program.  She’ll be able to help you tailor a plan suited to your specific needs.  And as a professional, she’ll also let you know if the combination of natural products you might be considering are effective and can be safely used together.

 

The first herb that many find aids in alleviating hives is jewelweed.  This herb contains a substance called lawsone, which is said to have a near instant affect on the irritating itch of the hives.

 

If you’re going to use this, fresh jewelweed is the best.  (Actually, many say it’s best to grow your own – that’s how fresh it should be!) You can crush it and then gently rub it on the area.  You should feel the effects almost immediately!

 

Make yourself a cup of tea with amaranth seeds.  Many individuals swear by this remedy.  They say it is a tremendous benefit to their hives.  Amaranth tea is easy to make – and the herb is fairly common to find.  To make the tea, simply add two to three tablespoons of the tea to about three cups of boiling water.  Allow this to steep for about twenty minutes.  Then enjoy!  The next thing you know, you’ll be enjoying hive-free living again!

 

You might want to consider adding a small amount of jewelweed to this tea. And if you’re in real discomfort, think about using the tea as a poultice.  That’s right.  Apply it directly to your skin.  And if you have a very large area of your body that’s being affected by hives, mix this tea with your bathwater!

 

Ginger is a common herb and many may not even think about using it for a case of the hives.  But it’s said to help alleviate the symptoms.  In this instance, you’ll want to use about a half a pound of ginger, simmer it in a gallon of boiling water and then put in with your bathwater.  After you soak in this for a while, then you can even add a little chamomile tea towards the end of the treatment.

 

Sandalwood has been used by the Native Americans and is said to have a calming effect on itchy, fiery hives.  It can be bought as an oil just about anywhere and should be applied directly to the skin for maximum effectiveness.

 

 


Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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Greg Cryns
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